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Full text of "Rootabaga stories"



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Fit 

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Kootabi 




PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH L BRAR.ES 




3 3333 08119 2789 







31 



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The balloons floated and filled the sky 



ROOTABAGA 
STORIES 



BY 



CARL 5ANDBURG 

Author of "Slabs of the Sunburnt West," "Smoke 
and Steel," "Chicago Poems, " "Corahuskers " 



ILLUSTRATIONS AND DECORATIONS 

BY 

MAUD AND MI5KA PLTLR5HAM 



> I > > > I I I 
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' 





'.I I 1 




NEW YORK 

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY 









COPYRIGHT, IQ22, BY 
HARCOURT, BRACK AND COMPANY, INC. 

Published, October, 1922 
Second Printing, October. 1922 
Third Printing, November, 1922 
Fourth Printing, i\ovi_mber, 1922 
Fifth Printing, December, 1922 



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PRINTED IN THE U 8. A. BY 

THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY 

RAHWAY. N. J 



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TO 

SPINK AND SKABOOTCH 



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CONTENTS 

i. 

Three Stories About the Finding of the Zigzag Rail- 
road, the Pigs with Bibs On, the Circus Clown 
Ovens, the Village of Liver-and-Onions, the 
Village of Cream Puffs 

How They Broke Away to Go to the Rootabaga Country 3 

How They Bring Back the Village of Cream Puffs When the 
Wind Blows It Away 19 

How the Five Rusty Rats Helped Find a New Village 29 

2. 
Five Stories About the Potato Face Blind Man 

The Potato Face Blind Man Who Lost the Diamond Rabbit on 
His Gold Accordion 41 

How the Potato Face Blind Man Enjoyed Himself on a Fine 
Spring Morning 45 

Poker Face the Baboon and Hot Dog the Tiger 53 

The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the Potato Face Blind 

Man 59 
How Gimme the Ax Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad and 

Who Made It Zigzag 65 

3. 

Three Stories About the Gold Buckskin Whincher 

The Story of Blixie Bimber and the Power of the Gold Buck- 
skin Whincher 73 



Contents 

The Story of Jason Squiff and Why He Had a Popcorn Hat, 
Popcorn Mittens and Popcorn Shoes 79 

The Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two Blue Rats, and the Circus 
Man Who Came With Spot Cash Money 89 



Four Stories About the Deep Doom of Dark 
Doorways 

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle 
and Who Was in It 99 

How the Hat Ashes Shovel Helped Snoo Foo 105 

Three Boys with Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions 109 

How Bimboo the Snip's Thumb Stuck to His Nose When the 
Wind Changed 123 

5. 

Three Stories About Three Ways the Wind Went 
Winding 

The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child 133 
The Dollar Watch and the Five Jack Rabbits 141 
The Wooden Indian and the Shaghorn Buffalo 151 

6. 

Four Stories About Dear, Dear Eyes 

The White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy 759 

What Six Girls with Balloons Told the Gray Man on 
Horseback 767 

How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played the Guitar With His Mittens 
On 775 

Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon 75*5 



Contents 

7, 
One Story "Only the Fire-Born Understand Blue" 

Sand Flat Shadows 191 

8, 

Two Stories About Corn Fairies, Blue Foxes, Flong- 
boos and Happenings that Happened in the 
United States and Canada 

How to Tell Corn Fairies When You See 'Em 205 

How the Animals Lost Their Tails and Got Them Back Travel- 
ing from Philadelphia to Medicine Hat 213 



PACK 



FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS 

The balloons floated and filled the sky 

Frontispiece (In color) 

He opened the ragbag and took out all the spot cash 

money 7 

Then the uncles asked her the first question first . 21 

They held on to the long curved tails of the rusty 

rats 33 

"I am sure many people will stop and remember the 

Potato Face Blind Man" .... 47 

His hat was popcorn, his mittens popcorn and his 

shoes popcorn 83 

They stepped into the molasses with their bare feet . 113 
The monkey took the place of the traffic policeman . 129 
So they stood looking 153 

It seemed to him as though the sky came down close 

to his nose . . . . . . . .177 

Away off where the sun was coming up there were 

people and animals . . . . . .195 

There on a high stool in a high tower on a high hill 

sits the Head Spotter of the Weather Makers . 215 



1. Three Stories About the Finding 
of the Zigzag Railroad, the Pigs 
with Bibs On, the Circus Clown 
Ovens, the Village of Liver-and- 
Onions, the Village of Cream 
Puffs. 

People : Gimme the Ax 
Please Gimme 
Ax Me No Questions 
The Ticket Agent 
Wing Tip the Spick 
The Four Uncles 
The Rat in a Blizzard 
The Five Rusty Rats 

More People: 

Balloon Pickers 
Baked Clowns 
Polka Dot Pigs 




How They Broke Away to Go to the 
Rootabaga Country 

Gimme the Ax lived in a house where every- 
thing is the same as it always was. 

"The chimney sits on top of the house and 
lets the smoke out," said Gimme the Ax. "The 
doorknobs open the doors. The windows are 
always either open or shut. We are always 
either upstairs or downstairs in this house. 
Everything is the same as it always was/ 

So he decided to let his children name them- 
selves. 



How They Broke Away to Go 

"The first words they speak as soon as they 
learn to make words shall be their names/' he 
said. "They shall name themselves. 5 

When the first boy came to the house of 
Gimme the Ax, he was named Please Gimme. 
When the first girl came she was named Ax 
Me No Questions. 

And both of the children had the shadows 
of valleys by night in their eyes and the lights 
of early morning, when the sun is coming up, 
on their foreheads. 

And the hair on top of their heads was a 
dark wild grass. And they loved to turn the 
doorknobs, open the doors, and run out to have 
the wind comb their hair and touch their 
eyes and put its six soft fingers on their fore- 
heads. 

And then because no more boys came and no 
more girls came, Gimme the Ax said to him- 
self, "My first boy is my last and my last girl 
is my first and they picked their names them- 
selves." 

4 



To the Rootabaga Country 

Please Gimme -grew up and his ears got 
longer. Ax Me No Questions grew up and her 
ears got longer. And they kept on living in the 
house where everything is the same as it al- 
ways was. They learned to say just as their 
father said, "The chimney sits on top of the 
house and lets the smoke out, the doorknobs 

open the doors, the windows are always either 
open or shut, we are always either upstairs or 

downstairs everything is the same as it al- 
ways was." 

After a while they began asking each other 
in the cool of the evening after they had eggs 
for breakfast in the morning, "Who's who? 
How much? And what's the answer? 3 

"It is too much to be too long anywhere," 
said the tough old man, Gimme the Ax. 

And Please Gimme and Ax Me No Ques- 
tions, the tough son and the tough daughter 

of Gimme the Ax, answered their father, "It 
is too much to be too long any where. ): 

So they sold everything they had, pigs, pas- 

5 



How They Broke Away to Go 

tures, pepper pickers, pitchforks, everything 
except their ragbags and a few extras. 

When their neighbors saw them selling ev- 
erything they had, the different neighbors said, 
"They are going to Kansas, to Kokomo, to Can- 
ada, to Kankakee, to Kalamazoo, to Kam- 
chatka, to the Chattahoochee." 

One little sniffer with his eyes half shut and 
a mitten on his nose, laughed in his hat five 
ways and said, "They are going to the moon 
and when they get there they will find every- 
thing is the same as it always was." 

All the spot cash money he got for selling 
everything, pigs, pastures, pepper pickers, 
pitchforks, Gimme the Ax put in a ragbag and 
slung on his back like a rag picker going home. 

Then he took Please Gimme, his oldest and 
youngest and only son, and Ax Me No Ques- 
tions, his oldest and youngest and only daugh- 
ter, and went to the railroad station. 

The ticket agent was sitting at the window 
selling railroad tickets the same as always. 

6 




He opened the ragbag and took out all the 

spot cash money 



To the Rootabaga Country 

"Do you wish a ticket to go away and come 
back or do you wish a ticket to go away and 
never come back?" the ticket agent asked wip- 
ing sleep out of his eyes. 

"We wish a ticket to ride where the rail- 
road tracks run off into the sky and never come 
back send us far as the railroad rails go and 
then forty ways farther yet," was the reply of 
Gimme the Ax. 

"So far? So early? So soon?" asked the 
ticket agent wiping more sleep out his eyes. 
"Then I will give you a new ticket. It blew in. 
It is a long slick yellow leather slab ticket with 
a blue spanch across it. 5: 

Gimme the Ax thanked the ticket agent once, 
thanked the ticket agent twice, and then in- 
stead of thanking the ticket agent three times 
he opened the ragbag and took out all the spot 
cash money he got for selling everything, pigs, 
pastures, pepper pickers, pitchforks, and paid 
the spot cash money to the ticket agent. 

Before he put it in his pocket he looked once, 

9 



How They Broke Away to Go 

twice, three times at the long yellow leather 
slab ticket with a blue spanch across it. 

Then with Please Gimme and Ax Me No 
Questions he got on the railroad train, showed 
the conductor his ticket and they started to ride 
to where the railroad tracks run off into the 
blue sky and then forty ways farther yet. 

The train ran on and on. It came to the 
place where the railroad tracks run off into 
the blue sky. And it ran on and on chick chick- 
a-chick chick-a-chick chick-a-chick. 

Sometimes the engineer hooted and tooted 
the whistle. Sometimes the fireman rang the 
bell. Sometimes the open-and-shut of the 
steam hog's nose choked and spit pfisty-pfoost, 
pfisty-pfoost, pfisty-pfoost. But no matter 
what happened to the whistle and the bell and 
the steam hog, the train ran on and on to where 
the railroad tracks run off into the blue sky. 
And then it ran on and on more and more. 

Sometimes Gimme the Ax looked in his 
pocket, put his fingers in and took out the long 

10 



To the Rootabaga Country 

slick yellow leather slab ticket with a blue 
spanch across it. 

"Not even the Kings of Egypt with all their 
climbing camels, and all their speedy, spotted, 
lucky lizards, ever had a ride like this," he said 
to his children. 

Then something happened. They met an- 
other train running on the same track. One 
train was going one way. The other was go- 
ing the other way. They met. They passed 
each other. 

"What was it what happened?" the chil- 
dren asked their father. 

"One train went over, the other train went 
under," he answered. "This is the Over and 
Under country. Nobody get's out of the way 
of anybody else. They either go over or 
under." 

Next they came to the country of the bal- 
loon pickers. Hanging down from the sky 
strung on strings so fine the eye could not see 
them at first, was the balloon crop of that sum- 

ii 



How They Broke Away to Go 

mer. The sky was thick with balloons. Red, 
blue, yellow balloons, white, purple and orange 
balloons peach, watermelon and potato bal- 
loons rye loaf and wheat loaf balloons link 
sausage and pork chop balloons they floated 
and rilled the sky. 

The balloon pickers were walking on high 
stilts picking balloons. Each picker had his 
own stilts, long or short. For picking balloons 
near the ground he had short stilts. If he 
wanted to pick far and high he walked on a 
far and high pair of stilts. 

Baby pickers on baby stilts were picking 
baby balloons. When they fell off the stilts 
the handful of balloons they were holding kept 
them in the air till they got their feet into the 
stilts again. 

"Who is that away up there in the sky climb- 
ing like a bird in the morning?" Ax Me No 
Questions asked her father. 

"He was singing too happy," replied the 
father. "The songs came out of his neck and 

12 



To the Rootabaga Country 

made him so light the balloons pulled him off 
his stilts." 

"Will he ever come down again back to his 
own people?" 

"Yes, his heart will get heavy when his songs 
are all gone. Then he will drop down to his 
stilts again." 

The train was running on and on. The en- 
gineer hooted and tooted the whistle when he 
felt like it. The fireman rang the bell when 
he felt that way. And sometimes the open- 
and-shut of the steam hog had to go pfisty- 
pfoost, pfisty-pfoost. 

"Next is the country where the circus clowns 
come from, j: said Gimme the Ax to his son 
and daughter. "Keep your eyes open." 

They did keep their eyes open. They saw 
cities with ovens, long and short ovens, fat 
stubby ovens, lean lank ovens, all for baking 
either long or short clowns, or fat and stubby 
or lean and lank clowns. 

After each clown was baked in the oven it 

13 



How They Broke Away to Go 

was taken out into the sunshine and put up to 
stand like a big white doll with a red mouth 
leaning against the fence. 

Two men came along to each baked clown 
standing still like a doll. One man threw a 
bucket of white fire over it. The second man 
pumped a wind pump with a living red wind 
through the red mouth. 

The clown rubbed his eyes, opened his 
mouth, twisted his neck, wiggled his ears, 
wriggled his toes, jumped away from the fence 
and began turning handsprings, cartwheels, 
somersaults and flipflops in the sawdust ring 
near the fence. 

"The next we come to is the Rootabaga 
Country where the big city is the Village of 
Liver-and-Onions," said Gimme the Ax, look- 



ing again in his pocket to be sure he had the 
long slick yellow leather slab ticket with a 
blue spanch across it. 

The train ran on and on till it stopped run- 
ning straight and began running in zigzags 

14 



To the Rootabaga Country 

like one letter Z put next to another Z and the 
next and the next. 

The tracks and the rails and the ties and 
the spikes under the train all stopped being 
straight and changed to zigzags like one letter 
Z and another letter Z put next after the other. 

9 

"It seems like we go half way and then back 
up," said Ax Me No Questions. 

"Look out of the window and see if the pigs 
have bibs on/ : said Gimme the Ax. "If the 
pigs are wearing bibs then this is the Rootabaga 
country." 

And they looked out of the zigzagging win- 
dows of the zigzagging cars and the first pigs 
they saw had bibs on. And the next pigs and 
the next pigs they saw all had bibs on. 

The checker pigs had checker bibs on, the 



striped pigs had striped bibs on. And the polka 
dot pigs had polka dot bibs on. 

"Who fixes it for the pigs to have bibs on?" 
Please Gimme asked his father. 

"The fathers and mothers fix it," answered 

15 



How They Broke Away to Go 

Gimme the Ax. "The checker pigs have 
checker fathers and mothers. The striped 
pigs have striped fathers and mothers. And 
the polka dot pigs have polka dot fathers and 
mothers." 

And the train went zigzagging on and on 
running on the tracks and the rails and the 
spikes and the ties which were all zigzag like 
the letter Z and the letter Z. 

And after a while the train zigzagged on into 
the Village of Liver-and-Onions, known as the 
biggest city in the big, big Rootabaga country. 

And so if you are going to the Rootabaga 
country you will know when you get there be- 
cause the railroad tracks change from straight 
to zigzag, the pigs have bibs on and it is the 
fathers and mothers who fix it. 

And if you start to go to that country remem- 
ber first you must sell everything you have, 
pigs, pastures, pepper pickers, pitchforks, put 
the spot cash money in a ragbag and go to the 
railroad station and ask the ticket agent for a 

16 



To the Rootabaga Country 

long slick yellow leather slab ticket with a blue 
spanch across it. 

And you mustn't be surprised if the ticket 
agent wipes sleep from his eyes and asks, "So 
far? So early? So soon? " 





How They Bring Back the Village of 
Cream Puffs When the Wind Blows 

It Away 

A girl named Wing Tip the Spick came to 
the Village of Liver-and-Onions to visit her 
uncle and her uncle's uncle on her mother's 
side and her uncle and her uncle's uncle on her 
father's side. 

It was the first time the four uncles had a 
chance to see their little relation, their niece. 
Each one of the four uncles was proud of the 
blue eyes of Wing Tip the Spick. 

19 



How They Bring Back Village 

The two uncles on her mother's side took a 
long deep look into her blue eyes and said, "Her 
eyes are so blue, such a clear light blue, they are 
the same as cornflowers with blue raindrops 
shining and dancing on silver leaves after a 
sun shower in any of the summer months. 51 

And the two uncles on her father's side, after 
taking a long deep look into the eyes of Wing 
Tip the Spick, said, "Her eyes are so blue, such 
a clear light shining blue, they are the same as 
cornflowers with blue raindrops shining and 
dancing on the silver leaves after a sun shower 
in any of the summer months/ 

And though Wing Tip the Spick didn't listen 
and didn't hear what the uncles said about her 
blue eyes, she did say to herself when they were 
not listening, "I know these are sweet uncles 
and I am going to have a sweet time visiting 
my relations." 

The four uncles said to her, "Will you let 
us ask you two questions, first the first question 
and second the second question? 3 

20 




Then the uncles asked her the first question first 



When Wind Blows It Away 

"I will let you ask me fifty questions this 
morning, fifty questions tomorrow morning, 
and fifty questions any morning. I like to lis- 
ten to questions. They slip in one ear and slip 
out of the other." 

Then the uncles asked her the first question 
first, "Where do you come from? " and the sec- 
ond question second, "Why do you have two 
freckles on your chin? " 

" Answering your first question first," said 
Wing Tip the Spick, "I come from the Village 
o? Cream Puffs, a little light village on the 
upland corn prairie. From a long ways off it 
loots like a little hat you could wear on the end 
of your thumb to keep the rain off your thumb." 

"Tell us more," said one uncle. "Tell us 
much," said another uncle. "Tell it without 
stopping," added another uncle. "Interrup- 
tions nix nix," murmured the last of the 
uncles. 

"It is a light little village on the upland corn 
prairie many miles past the sunset in the west," 

23 



How They Bring Back Village 

went on Wing Tip the Spick. "It is light the 
same as a cream puff is light. It sits all by it- 
self on the big long prairie where the prairie 
goes up in a slope. There on the slope the winds 
play around the village. They sing it wind 
songs, summer wind songs in summer, winter 
wind songs in winter." 

"And sometimes like an accident, the wind 
gets rough. And when the wind gets rough it 
picks up the little Village of Cream Puffs and 
blows it away off in the sky all by itself/ 

"O-o-h-h," said one uncle. "Um-m-m-m," 
said the other three uncles. 

"Now the people in the village all under- 
stand the winds with their wind songs in sum- 
mer and winter. And they understand the 
rough wind who comes sometimes and picks up 
the village and blows it away off high in the 
sky all by itself. 

"If you go to the public square in the middle 
of the village you will see a big roundhouse. 
If you take the top off the roundhouse you will 

24 



When Wind Blows It Away 

see a big spool with a long string winding up 
around the spool. 

"Now whenever the rough wind comes and 
picks up the village and blows it away off high 
in the sky all by itself then the string winds 
loose off the spool, because the village is fas- 
tened to the string. So the rough wind blows 
and blows and the string on the spool winds 
looser and looser the farther the village goes 
blowing away off into the sky all by itself. 

"Then at last when the rough wind, so for- 
getful, so careless, has had all the fun it wants, 
then the people of the village all come together 
and begin to wind up the spool and bring back 
the village where it was before. r 

"O-o-h-h," said one uncle. "Um-m-m-m," 
said the other three uncles. 

"And sometimes when you come to the vil- 
lage to see your little relation, your niece who 
has four such sweet uncles, maybe she will lead 
you through the middle of the city to the pub- 
lic square and show you the roundhouse. They 

25 



How They Bring Back Fillage 

<call it the Roundhouse of the Big Spool. And 
they are proud because it was thought up and is 
there to show when visitors come/ 

"And now will you answer the second ques- 
tion second why do you have two freckles 
on your chin? : interrupted the uncle who had 
said before, "Interruptions nix nix." 

"The freckles are put on,' : answered Wing 
Tip the Spick. "When a girl goes away from 
the Village of Cream Puffs her mother puts on 
two freckles, on the chin. Each freckle must 
be the same as a little burnt cream puff kept in 
the oven too long. After the two freckles look- 
ing like two little burnt cream puffs are put on 
her chin, they remind the girl every morning 
when she combs her hair and looks in the look- 
ing glass. They remind her where she came 
from and she mustn't stay away too long." 

"O-h-h-h," said one uncle. "Um-m-m-m," 
said the other three uncles. And they talked 
among each other afterward, the four uncles 
by themselves, saying: 

26 



When Wind Blows It Away 

"She has a gift. It is her eyes. They are so 
blue, such a clear light blue, the same as corn- 
flowers with blue raindrops shining and danc- 
ing on silver leaves after a sun shower in any 
of the summer months." 

At the same time Wing Tip the Spick was 
saying to herself, "I know for sure now these 
are sweet uncles and I am going to have a sweet 
time visiting my relations." 





How the Five Rusty Rats Helped Find a 

New Village 

One day while Wing Tip the Spick was visit- 
ing her four uncles in the Village of Liver-and- 
Onions, a blizzard came up. Snow filled the 
sky and the wind blew and made a noise like 
heavy wagon axles grinding and crying. 

And on this day a gray rat came to the house 
of the four uncles, a rat with gray skin and 
gray hair, gray as the gray gravy on a beefsteak. 
The rat had a basket. In the basket was a cat- 
fish. And the rat said, "Please let me have a 
little fire and a little salt as I wish to make a 

29 



How the Five Rusty Rats 

little bowl of hot catfish soup to keep me warm 
through the blizzard. 51 

And the four uncles all said together, "This 
is no time for rats to be around and we would 
like to ask you where you got the catfish in the 
basket. >: 

"Oh, oh, oh, please in the name of the five 
rusty rats, the five lucky rats of the Village of 
Cream Puffs, please don't/' was the exclama- 
tion of Wing Tip the Spick. 

The uncles stopped. They looked long and 
deep into the eyes of Wing Tip the Spick and 
thought, as they had thought before, how her 
eyes were clear light blue the same as corn- 
flowers with blue raindrops shining on the silver 
leaves in a summer sun shower. 

And the four uncles opened the door and let 
the gray rat come in with the basket and the 
catfish. They showed the gray rat the way to 
the kitchen and the fire and the salt. And they 
watched the rat and kept him company while 
he fixed himself a catfish soup to keep him 

30 



Helped Find a New Village 

warm traveling through the blizzard with the 
sky full of snow. 

After they opened the front door and let the 
rat out and said good-by, they turned to Wing 
Tip the Spick and asked her to tell them about 
the five rusty lucky rats of the Village of Cream 
Puffs where she lived with her father and her 
mother and her folks. 

"When I was a little girl growing up, before 
I learned all I learned since I got older, my 
grandfather gave me a birthday present because 
I was nine years, old. I remember how he said 
to me, 'You will never be nine years old again 
after this birthday, so I give you this box for 
a birthday present.' 

"In the box was a pair of red slippers with a 
gold clock on each slipper. One of the clocks 
ran fast. The other clock ran slow. And he 
told me if I wished to be early anywhere I 
should go by the clock that ran fast. And if I 
wished to be late anywhere I should go by the 
clock that ran slow. 



'How the Five Rusty Rats 

"And that same birthday he took me down 
through the middle of the Village of Cream 
Puffs to the public square near the Roundhouse 
of the Big Spool. There he pointed his finger 
at the statue of the five rusty rats, the five 
lucky rats. And as near as I can remember 
his words, he said: 

" 'Many years ago, long before the snow 
birds began to wear funny little slip-on hats and 

funny little slip-on shoes, and away back long 
before the snow birds learned how to slip off 

their slip-on hats and how to slip off their slip- 
on shoes, long ago in the faraway Village of 
Liver-and-Onions, the people who ate cream 
puffs came together and met in the streets and 
picked up their baggage and put their belong- 
ings on their shoulders and marched out of the 
Village of Liver-and-Onions saying, "We shall 
find a new place for a village and the name 
of it shall be the Village of Cream Puffs. 

" 'They marched out on the prairie with 
their baggage and belongings in sacks on their 

32 




They held on to the long curved tails of 

the rusty rats 



Helped Find a New Village 

shoulders. And a blizzard came up. Snow 
filled the sky. The wind blew and blew and 
made a noise like heavy wagon axles grinding 
and crying. 

" c The snow came on. The wind twisted all 
day and all night and all the next day. The 
wind changed black and twisted and spit icicles 
in their faces. They got lost in the blizzard. 
They expected to die and be buried in the snow 
for the wolves to come and eat them. 

" c Then the five lucky rats came, the five 
rusty rats, rust on their skin and hair, rust on 
their feet and noses, rust all over, and especially, 
most especially of all, rust on their long curved 
tails. They dug their noses down into the snow 
and their long curved tails stuck up far above 
the snow where the people who were lost in 
the blizzard could take hold of the tails like 
handles. 

" c And so, while the wind and the snow blew 
and the blizzard beat its icicles in their faces, 
they held on to the long curved tails of the 

35 



How the Five Rusty Rats 

rusty rats till they came to the place where 
the Village of Cream Puffs now stands. It was 
the rusty rats who saved their lives and showed 
them where to put their new village. That is 
why this statue now stands in the public square, 
this statue of the shapes of the five rusty rats, 
the five lucky rats with their noses down in 
the snow and their long curved tails lifted high 
out of the snow.' 

"That is the story as my grandfather told 
it to me. And he said it happened long ago, 
long before the snow birds began to wear slip- 
on hats and slip-on shoes, long before they 
learned how to slip off the slip-on hats and to 
slip off the slip-on shoes.* 

"O-h-h-h," said one of the uncles. "Um- 
m-m-m," said the other three uncles. 

"And sometime," added Wing Tip the Spick, 
"when you go away from the Village of Liver- 
and-Onions and cross the Shampoo River and 
ride many miles across the upland prairie till 
you come to the Village of Cream Puffs, you 

36 



Helped Find a New Village 

will find a girl there who loves four uncles very 
much. 

"And if you ask her politely, she will show 
you the red slippers with gold clocks on them, 
one clock to be early by, the other to be late by. 
And if you are still more polite she will take 
you through the middle of the town to the pub- 
lic square and show you the statue of the five 
rusty lucky rats with their long curved tails 
sticking up in the air like handles. And the 
tails are curved so long and so nice you will 
feel like going up and taking hold of them to 
see what will happen to you." 




37 



2. Five Stories About the 
Potato Face Blind Man 



People: The Potato Face Blind Man 
Any Ice Today 
Pick Ups 
Lizzie Lazarus 
Poker Face the Baboon 
Hot Dog the Tiger 
Whitson Whimble 
A Man Shoveling Money 
A Watermelon Moon 
White Gold Boys 
Blue Silver Girls 
Big White Moon Spiders 
Zizzies 
Gimme the Ax Again 




The Potato Face Blind Man Who Lost 
the Diamond Rabbit on His Gold 

Accordion 

There was a Potato Face Blind Man used to 
play an accordion on the Main Street corner 
nearest the postoffice in the Village of Liver- 
and-Onions. 

Any Ice Today came along and said, "It 
looks like it used to be an 18 carat gold accor- 
dion with rich pawnshop diamonds in it; it 
looks like it used to be a grand accordion once 
and not so grand now." 

"Oh, yes, oh, yes, it was gold all over on the 
outside," said the Potato Face Blind Man, "and 

41 



The Potato Face Blind Man 

there was a diamond rabbit next to the handles 
on each side, two diamond rabbits/ 

"How do you mean diamond rabbits?" 
Any Ice Today asked. 

"Ears, legs, head, feet, ribs, tail, all fixed 
out in diamonds to make a nice rabbit with his 
diamond chin on his diamond toenails. When 
I play good pieces so people cry hearing my 
accordion music, then I put my fingers over and 
feel of the rabbit's diamond chin on his dia- 
mond toenails, 'Attaboy, li'l bunny, attaboy, 
li'l bunny.' " 

"Yes I hear you talking but it is like dream 
talking. I wonder why your accordion looks 
like somebody stole it and took it to a pawnshop 
and took it out and somebody stole it again and 
took it to a pawnshop and took it out and some- 
body stole it again. And they kept on stealing 
it and taking it out of the pawnshop and steal- 
ing it again till the gold wore off so it looks 
like a used-to-be-yesterday.' 1 

"Oh, yes, o-h, y-e-s, you are right. It is not 

42 



Who Lost the Diamond Rabbit 

like the accordion it used to be. It knows more 
knowledge than it used to know just the same 
as this Potato Face Blind Man knows more 
knowledge than he used to know/ 

"Tell me about it," said Any Ice Today. 

"It is simple. If a blind man plays an accor- 
dion on the street to make people cry it makes 
them sad and when they are sad the gold goes 
away off the accordion. And if a blind man 
goes to sleep because his music is full of sleepy 
songs like the long wind in a sleepy valley, then 
while the blind man is sleeping the diamonds 
in the diamond rabbit all go away. I play a 
sleepy song and go to sleep and I wake up and 
the diamond ear of the diamond rabbit is gone. 
I play another sleepy song and go to sleep 
and wake up and the diamond tail of the 
diamond rabbit is gone. After a while all 
the diamond rabbits are gone, even the diamond 
chin sitting on the diamond toenails of the 
rabbits next to the handles of the accordion, 
even those are gone." 

43 



The Potato Face Blind Man 

"Is there anything I can do?" asked Any Ice 
Today. 

"I do it myself," said the Potato Face Blind 
Man. "If I am too sorry I just play the sleepy 
song of the long wind going up the sleepy val- 
leys. And that carries me away where I have 
time and money to dream about the new won- 
derful accordions and postoffices where every- 
body that gets a letter and everybody that don't 
get a letter stops and remembers the Potato 
Face Blind Man." 




44 




How the Potato Face Blind Man Enjoyed 
Himself on a Fine Spring Morning 

On a Friday morning when the flummywis- 
ters were yodeling yisters high in the elm trees, 
the Potato Face Blind Man came down to his 
work sitting at the corner nearest the postoffice 
in the Village of Liver-and-Onions and play- 
ing his gold-that-used-to-be accordion for the 
pleasure of the ears of the people going into 
the postoffice to see if they got any letters for 
themselves or their families. 

"It is a good day, a lucky day," said the Po- 
tato Fac^ Blind Man, "because for a begin- 

45 



How the Potato Face Blind Man 

ning I have heard high in the elm trees the 
flummywisters yodeling their yisters in the long 
branches of the lingering leaves. So so 
I am going to listen to myself playing on my 
accordion the same yisters, the same yodels, 
drawing them like long glad breathings out of 
my glad accordion, long breathings of the 
branches of the lingering leaves." 

And he sat down in his chair. On the sleeve 
of his coat he tied a sign, "I Am Blind Too." 
On the top button of his coat he hung a little 
thimble. On the bottom button of his coat he 
hung a tin copper cup. On the middle button 
he hung a wooden mug. By the side of him on 
the left side on the sidewalk he put a galvanized 
iron washtub, and on the right side an alumi- 
num dishpan. 

"It is a good day, a lucky day, and I am sure 
many people will stop and remember the Potato 
Face Blind Man," he sang to himself like a 
little song as he began running his fingers up 
and down the keys of the accordion like the 

46 




"I am sure many people will stop and remember the 

Potato Face Blind Man" 



Enjoyed Himself on a Spring Morning 

yisters of the lingering leaves in the elm trees. 

Then came Pick Ups. Always it happened 
Pick Ups asked questions and wished to know. 
And so this is how the questions and answers 
ran when the Potato Face filled the ears of 
Pick Ups with explanations. 

"What is the piece you are playing on the 
keys of your accordion so fast sometimes, so 
slow sometimes, so sad some of the moments, 
so glad some of the moments?" 

"It is the song the mama flummywisters sing 
when they button loose the winter underwear 
of the baby flummywisters and sing: 

"Fly, you little flummies, 
Sing, you little wisters." 

"And why do you have a little thimble on 
the top button of your coat? " 

"That is for the dimes to be put in. Some 
people see it and say, <Oh, I must put in a whole 
thimbleful of dimes.' " 

"And the tin copper cup?" 

49 



How the Potato Face Blind Man 

"That is for the base ball players to stand 
off ten feet and throw in nickels and pennies. 
The one who throws the most into the cup will 
be the most lucky." 

"And the wooden mug? " 

"There is a hole in the bottom of it. The 
hole is as big as the bottom. The nickel goes 
in and comes out again. It is for the very poor 
people who wish to give me a nickel and yet get 
the nickel back." 

"The aluminum dishpan and the galvanized 
iron washtub what are they doing by the side 
of you on both sides on the sidewalk? 3 

"Sometime maybe it will happen everybody 
who goes into the postoffice and comes out will 
stop and pour out all their money, because they 
might get afraid their money is no good any 
more. If such a happening ever happens then 
it will be nice for the people to have some place 
to pour their money. Such is the explanation 
why you see the aluminum dishpan and gal- 
vanized iron tub." 

50 



Enjoyed Himself on a Spring Morning 

"Explain your sign why is it, C I Am Blind 
Too.' " 

"Oh, I am sorry to explain to you, Pick Ups, 
why this is so which. Some of the people who 
pass by here going into the postoffice and com- 
ing out, they have eyes but they see nothing 
with their eyes. They look where they are go- 
ing and they get where they wish to get, but 
they forget why they came and they do not 
know how to come away. They are my blind 
brothers. It is for them I have the sign that 
reads, <I Am Blind Too* " 

"I have my ears full of explanations and I 
thank you," said Pick Ups. 

"Good-by," said the Potato Face Blind Man 
as he began drawing long breathings like lin- 
gering leaves out of the accordion along with 
the song the mama flummywisters sing when 
they button loose the winter underwear of the 
baby flummywisters. 




Poker Face the Baboon and Hot Dog 

the Tiger 

When the moon has a green rim with red 
meat inside and black seeds on the red meat, 
then in the Rootabaga Country they call it a 
Watermelon Moon and look for anything to 
happen. 

It was a night when a Watermelon Moon was 
shining. Lizzie Lazarus came to the upstairs 
room of the Potato Face Blind Man. Poker 
Face the Baboon and Hot Dog the Tiger were 
with her. She was leading them with a pink 
string. 

S3 



Poker Face the Baboon 

"You see they are wearing pajamas," she 
said. "They sleep with you to-night and to- 
morrow they go to work with you like mas- 
cots." 

"How like mascots?" asked the Potato Face 
Blind Man. 

"They are luck bringers. They keep your 
good luck if it is good. They change your bad 
luck if it is bad." 

"I hear you and my ears get your explana- 
tions." 

So the next morning when the Potato Face 
Blind Man sat down to play his accordion on 
the corner nearest the postoffice in the Village 
of Liver-and-Onions, next to him on the right 
hand side sitting on the sidewalk was Poker 
Face the Baboon and on the left hand side 
sitting next to him was Hot Dog the Tiger. 

They looked like dummies they were so 
quiet. They looked as if they were made of 
wood and paper and then painted. In the 
eyes of Poker Face was something faraway. 

54 



And Hot Dos the Tiger 

In the eyes of Hot Dog was something hungry. 
Whitson Whimble, the patent clothes wringer 
manufacturer, came by in his big limousine 
automobile car without horses to pull it. He 
was sitting back on the leather upholstered seat 
cushions. 

"Stop here," he commanded the chauffeur 
driving the car. 

Then Whitson Whimble sat looking. First 
he looked into the eyes of Poker Face the 
Baboon and saw something faraway. Then he 
looked into the eyes of Hot Dog the Tiger and 
saw something hungry. Then he read the sign 
painted by the Potato Face Blind Man saying, 
"You look at 'em and see 'em ; I look at 'em and 
I don't. You watch what their eyes say; I can 
only feel their hair." Then Whitson Whimble 
commanded the chauffeur driving the car, "Go 
on." 

Fifteen minutes later a man in overalls came 
down Main Street with a wheelbarrow. He 
stopped in front of the Potato Face Blind Man, 

55 



Poker Face the Baboon 

Poker Face the Baboon, and Hot Dog the 
Tiger. 

"Where is the aluminum dishpan? " he asked. 
"On my left side on the sidewalk," answered 
the Potato Face Blind Man. 

"Where is the galvanized iron washtub?" 
"On my right side on the sidewalk." 
Then the man in overalls took a shovel and 
began shoveling silver dollars out of the wheel- 
barrow into the aluminum dishpan and the gal- 
vanized iron washtub. He shoveled out of the 
wheelbarrow till the dishpan was full, till the 
washtub was full. Then he put the shovel into 
the wheelbarrow and went up Main Street. 

Six o'clock that night Pick Ups came along. 
The Potato Face Blind Man said to him, "I 
have to carry home a heavy load of money to- 
night, an aluminum dishpan full of silver dol- 
lars and a galvanized iron washtub full of silver 
dollars. So I ask you, will you take care of 
Poker Face the Baboon and Hot Dog the 
Tiger?" 

56 



And Hot Dog the Tiger 

"Yes," said Pick Ups, "I will." And he did. 
He tied a pink string to their legs and took 
them home and put them in the woodshed. 

Poker Face the Baboon went to sleep on the 
soft coal at the north end of the woodshed 
and when he was asleep his face had something 
faraway in it and he was so quiet he looked like 
a dummy with brown hair of the jungle painted 
on his black skin and a black nose painted on 
his brown face. Hot Dog the Tiger went to 
sleep on the hard coal at the south end of the 
woodshed and when he was asleep his eyelashes 
had something hungry in them and he looked 
like a painted dummy with black stripes 
painted over his yellow belly and a black spot 
painted away at the end of his long yellow tail. 

In the morning the woodshed was empty. 
Pick Ups told the Potato Face Blind Man, 
"They left a note in their own handwriting on 
perfumed pink paper. It said, 'Mascots never 
stay long.' " 

And that is why for many years the Potato 

57 



Poker Face the Baboon 

Face Blind Man had silver dollars to spend 
and that is why many people in the Rootabaga 
Country keep their eyes open for a Watermelon 
Moon in the sky with a green rim and red meat 
inside and black seeds making spots on the red 
meat. 




"-f, 




The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the 
Potato Face Blind Man 

One morning in October the Potato Face 
Blind Man sat on the corner nearest the post- 
office. 

Any Ice Today came along and said, "This 
is the sad time of the year/ 

"Sad? " asked the Potato Face Blind Man, 
changing his accordion from his right knee to 
his left knee, and singing softly to the tune he 
was fumbling on the accordion keys, "Be 
Happy in the Morning When the Birds Bring 
the Beans/ 

"Yes," said Any Ice Today, "is it not sad 

59 



The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream 

every year when the leaves change from green 
to yellow, when the leaves dry on the branches 
and fall into the air, and the wind blows them 
and they make a song saying, c Hush baby, hush 
baby/ and the wind fills the sky with them and 
they are like a sky full of birds who forget they 
know any songs. 5: 

"It is sad and not sad, ): was the blind man's 
word. 

"Listen," said the Potato Face. "For me this 
is the time of the year when the dream of the 
white moon toboggan comes back. Five weeks 
before the first snow flurry this dream always 
comes back to me. It says, ( The black leaves 
are falling now and they fill the sky but five 
weeks go by and then for every black leaf there 
will be a thousand snow crystals shining 
white.' " 

"What was your dream of the white moon 
toboggan? 3 asked Any Ice Today. 

"It came to me first when I was a boy, when 
I had my eyes, before my luck changed. I saw 

60 



Of the Potato Face Blind Man 

the big white spiders of the moon working, 
rushing around climbing up, climbing down, 
snizzling and sniff ering. I looked a long while 
before I saw what the big white spiders on the 
moon were doing. I saw after a while they 
were weaving a long toboggan, a white tobog- 
gan, white and soft as snow. And after a long 
while of snizzling and sniffering, climbing up 
and climbing down, at last the toboggan was 
done, a snow white toboggan running from the 
moon down to the Rootabaga Country. 

"And sliding, sliding down from the moon 
on this toboggan were the White Gold Boys 
and the Blue Silver Girls. They tumbled down 
at my feet because, you see, the toboggan ended 
right at my feet. I could lean over and pick up 
the White Gold Boys and the Blue Silver Girls 
as they slid out of the toboggan at my feet. I 
could pick up a whole handful of them and 
hold them in my hand and talk with them. 
Yet, you understand, whenever I tried to shut 
my hand and keep any of them they would 

61 



The Toboggan-to-the~Moon Dream 

snizzle and sniffer and jump out of the cracks 
between my fingers. Once there was a little gold 
and silver dust on my left hand thumb, dust 
they snizzled out while slipping away from me. 

"Once I heard a White Gold Boy and a Blue 
Silver Girl whispering. They were standing 
on the tip of my right hand little finger, whis- 
pering. One said, C I got pumpkins what did 
you get? 3 The other said, C I got hazel nuts.' 
I listened more and I found out there are mil- 
lions of pumpkins and millions of hazel nuts so 
small you and I can not see them. These chil- 
dren from the moon, however, they can see 
them and whenever they slide down on the moon 
toboggan they take back their pockets full of 
things so little we have never seen them/ 

"They are wonderful children/' said Any 
Ice Today. "And will you tell me how they get 
back to the moon after they slide down the to- 
boggan? " 

"Oh, that is easy," said Potato Face. "It is 
just as easy for them to slide up to the moon 

62 



Of the Potato Face Blind Man 

as to slide down. Sliding up and sliding down 
is the same for them. The big white spiders 

fixed it that way when they snizzled and snif- 
fered and made the toboggan." 




How Gimme the Ax Found Out About 
the Zigzag Railroad and Who Made 

It Zigzag 

One day Gimme the Ax said to himself, "To- 
day I go to the postoffice and around, looking 
around. Maybe I will hear about something 
happening last night when I was sleeping. 
Maybe a policeman began laughing and fell 
in a cistern and came out with a wheelbarrow 
full of goldfish wearing new jewelry. How do 
I know? Maybe the man in the moon going 
down a cellar stairs to get a pitcher of butter- 
milk for the woman in the moon to drink and 
stop crying, maybe he fell down the stairs and 

65 



How Gimme the Ax 

broke the pitcher and laughed and picked up 
the broken pieces and said to himself, c One, 
two, three, four, accidents happen in the best 
regulated families. ' How do I know? 3 

So with his mind full of simple and refresh- 
ing thoughts. Gimme the Ax went out into the 
backyard garden and looked at the different 
necktie poppies growing early in the summer. 
Then he picked one of the necktie poppies to 
wear for a necktie scarf going downtown to 
the postoffice and around looking around. 

"It is a good speculation to look nice around 
looking around in a necktie scarf," said Gimme 
the Ax. "It is a necktie with a picture like 
whitef ace pony spots on a green frog swimming 
in the moonshine. ?: 

So he went downtown. For the first time 
he saw the Potato Face Blind Man playing 
an accordion on the corner next nearest the 
postoffice. He asked the Potato Face to tell 
him why the railroad tracks run zigzag in the 
Rootabaga Country. 

66 



Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad 

"Long ago," said the Potato Face Blind 
Man, "long before the necktie poppies began 
growing in the backyard, long before there was 
a necktie scarf like yours with whiteface pony 
spots on a green frog swimming in the moon- 
shine, back in the old days when they laid the 
rails for the railroad they laid the rails 
straight. r 

"Then the zizzies came. The zizzy is a bug. 
He runs zigzag on zigzag legs, eats zigzag with 
zigzag teeth, and spits zigzag with a zigzag 
tongue. 

"Millions of zizzies came hizzing with little 
hizzers on their heads and under their legs. 
They jumped on the rails with their zigzag 
legs, and spit and twisted with their zigzag 
teeth and tongues till they twisted the whole 
railroad and all the rails and tracks into a zig- 
zag railroad with zigzag rails for the trains, 
the passenger trains and the freight trains, all 
to run zigzag on. 

"Then the zizzies crept away into the fields 



How Gimme the Ax 

where they sleep and cover themselves with 
zigzag blankets on special zigzag beds. 

"Next day came shovelmen with their 
shovels, smooth engineers with smooth blue 
prints, and water boys with water pails and 
water dippers for the shovelmen to drink after 
shoveling the railroad straight. And I nearly 
forgot to say the steam and hoist operating en- 
gineers came and began their steam hoist and 
operating to make the railroad straight. 

"They worked hard. They made the rail- 
road straight again. They looked at the job and 
said to themselves and to each other, 'This is 
it we done it.' 

"Next morning the zizzies opened their zig- 
zag eyes and looked over to the railroad and the 
rails. When they saw the railroad all straight 
again, and the rails and the ties and the spikes 
all straight again, the zizzies didn't even eat 
breakfast that morning. 

"They jumped out of their zigzag beds, 

68 



Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad 

jumped onto the rails with their zigzag legs and 
spit and twisted till they spit and twisted all 
the rails and the ties and the spikes back into 
a zigzag like the letter Z and the letter Z 
at the end of the alphabet. 

"After that the zizzies went to breakfast. 
And they said to themselves and to each other, 
the same as the shovelmen, the smooth engi- 
neers and the steam hoist and operating engi- 
neers, 'This is it we done it.' " 

"So that is the how of the which it was 
the zizzies," said Gimme the Ax. 

"Yes, it was the zizzies, ): said the Potato 
Face Blind Man. "That is the story told 



to me." 



"Who told it to you? " 

"Two little zizzies. They came to me one 
cold winter night and slept in my accordion 
where the music keeps it warm in winter. In 
the morning I said, 'Good morning, zizzies, did 
you have a good sleep last night and pleasant 

6 9 



How Gimme the Ax 

dreams? 3 And after they had breakfast they 
told me the story. Both told it zigzag but it was 
the same kind of zigzag each had together." 




70 



3. Three Stories About the 
Gold Buckskin Whincher 

People: Blixie Bimber 

Peter Potato Blossom Wishes 

Jimmie the Flea 

Silas Baxby 

Fritz Axenbax 

James Sixbixdix 

Jason Squiff, the Cistern Cleaner 

Rags Habakuk, the Rag Man 

Two Daughters of the Rag Man 

Two Blue Rats 

A Circus Man With Spot Cash 

A Moving Picture Actor 

A Taxicab Driver 




The Story of Blixie Bimber and the Power 
of the Gold Buckskin Whincher 

Blixie Bimber grew up looking for luck. If 
she found a horseshoe she took it home and 
put it on the wall of her room with a ribbon tied 
to it. She would look at the moon through her 
fingers, under her arms, over her right shoulder 
but never never over her left shoulder. She 
listened and picked up everything anybody said 
about the ground hog ancl whether the ground 
hog saw his shadow when he came out the sec- 
ond of February. 

If she dreamed of onions she knew the next 
day she would find a silver spoon. If she 
dreamed of fishes she knew the next day she 

73 



Story of Blixie Bimber and 

would meet a strange man who would call her 
by her first name. She grew up looking for 
luck. 

She was sixteen years old and quite a girl, 
with her skirts down to her shoe tops, when 
something happened. She was going to the 
postoffice to see if there was a letter for 
her from Peter Potato Blossom Wishes, her 
best chum, or a letter from Jimmy the Flea, 
her best friend she kept steady company with. 

Jimmy the Flea was a climber. He climbed 
skyscrapers and flagpoles and smokestacks and 
was a famous steeplejack. Blixie Bimber liked 
him because he was a steeplejack, a little, but 
more because he was a whistler. 

Every time Blixie said to Jimmy, "I got the 
blues whistle the blues out of me,' 3 Jimmy 
would just naturally whistle till the blues just 
naturally went away from Blixie. 

On the way to the postoffice, Blixie found 
a gold buckskin whincher. There it lay in the 
middle of the sidewalk. How and why it came 

74 



Power of Gold Buckskin Whincher 

to be there she never knew and nobody ever told 
her. "It's luck/ : she said to herself as she 
picked it up quick. 

And so she took it home and fixed it on 
a little chain and wore it around her neck. 

She did not know and nobody ever told her 
a gold buckskin whincher is different from just 
a plain common whincher. It has a power. 
And if a thing has a power over you then you 
just naturally can't help yourself. 

So around her neck fixed on a little chain 
Blixie Bimber wore the gold buckskin whincher 
and never knew it had a power and all the time 
the power was working. 

"The first man you meet with an X in his 
name you must fall head over heels in love with 
him/' said the silent power in the gold buckskin 
whincher. 

And that was why Blixie Bimber stopped 
at the postoffice and went back again asking 
the clerk at the postoffice window if he was 
sure there wasn't a letter for her. The name 

75 



Story of Blixie Bimber and 

of the clerk was Silas Baxby. For six weeks 
he kept steady company with Blixie Bimber. 
They went to dances, hayrack rides, picnics and 
high jinks together. 

All the time the power in the gold buckskin 
whincher was working. It was hanging by a 
little chain around her neck and always work- 
ing. It was saying, "The next man you meet 
with two X's in his name you must leave all 
and fall head over heels in love with him/ 

She met the high school principal. His 
name was Fritz Axenbax. Blixie dropped her 
eyes before him and threw smiles at him. And 
for six weeks he kept steady company with 
Blixie Bimber. They went to dances, hayrack 
rides, picnics and high jinks together. 

"Why do you go with him for steady com- 
pany? 3 her relatives asked. 

"It's a power he's got,' :> Blixie answered, "I 
just can't help it it's a power." 

"One of his feet is bigger than the other 



Power of Gold Buckskin Whincher 

how can you keep steady company with him?" 
they asked again. 

All she would answer was, "It's a power." 

All the time, of course, the gold buckskin 
whincher on the little chain around her neck 
was working. It was saying, "If she meets a 
man with three X's in his name she must fall 
head over heels in love with him." 

At a band concert in the public square one 
night she met James Sixbixdix. There was 
no helping it. She dropped her eyes and threw 
her smiles at him. And for six weeks they 
kept steady company going to band concerts, 
dances, hayrack rides, picnics and high jinks 
together. 

"Why do you keep steady company with 
him? He's a musical soup eater," her rela- 
tives said to her. And she answered, "It's a 
power I can't help myself." 

Leaning down with her head in a rain water 
cistern one day, listening to the echoes against 

77 



Story of Blixie Bimber 

the strange wooden walls of the cistern, the gold 
buckskin whincher on the little chain around 
her neck slipped off and fell down into the rain 
water. 

"My luck is gone," said Blixie. Then she 
went into the house and made two telephone 
calls. One was to James Sixbixdix telling him 
she couldn't keep the date with him that night. 
The other was to Jimmy the Flea, the climber, 
the steeplejack. 

"Come on over I got the blues and I want 
you to whistle 'em away,' : was what she tele- 
phoned Jimmy the Flea. 

And so if you ever come across a gold buck- 
skin whincher, be careful. It's got a power. 
It'll make you fall head over heels in love with 
the next man you meet with an X in his name. 
Or it will do other strange things because dif- 
ferent whinchers have different powers. 




The Story of Jason Squiff and Why He 

Had a Popcorn Hat, Popcorn Mittens 

and Popcorn Shoes 

Jason Squiff was a cistern cleaner. He had 
greenish yellowish hair. If you looked down 
into a cistern when he was lifting buckets of 
slush and mud you could tell where he was^ 
you could pick him out down in the dark cistern, 
by the lights of his greenish yellowish hair. 

Sometimes the buckets of slush and mud 
tipped over and ran down on the top of his head. 
This covered his greenish yellowish hair. And 
then it was hard to tell where he was and it was 

79 



The Story of Jason Squiff's 

not easy to pick him out down in the dark where 
he was cleaning the cistern. 

One day Jason Squiff came to the Bimber 
house and knocked on the door. 

"Did I understand/' he said, speaking to 
Mrs. Bimber, Blixie Bimber's mother, "do I 
understand you sent for me to clean the cistern 
in your back yard? " 

"You understand exactly such," said Mrs. 
Bimber, "and you are welcome as the flowers 
that bloom in the spring, tra-la-la. >: 

"Then I will go to work and clean the cis- 
tern, tra-la-la," he answered, speaking to Mrs. 
Bimber. "Pm the guy, tra-la-la," he said fur- 
ther, running his excellent fingers through his 
greenish yellowish hair which was shining 
brightly. 

He began cleaning the cistern. Blixie Bim- 
ber came out in the back yard. She looked 
down in the cistern. It was all dark. It looked 
like nothing but all dark down there. By and 
by she saw something greenish yellowish. She 

80 



Popcorn Hat, Mittens and Shoes 

watched it. Soon she saw it was Jason SquifPs 
head and hair. And then she knew the cistern 
was being cleaned and Jason Squiff was on the 
job. So she sang tra-la-la and went back into 
the house and told her mother Jason Squiff was 
on the job. 

The last bucketful of slush and mud came 
at last for Jason Squiff. He squinted at the 
bottom. Something was shining. He reached 
his fingers down through the slush and mud 
and took out what was shining. 

It was the gold buckskin whincher Blixie 
Bimber lost from the gold chain around her 
neck the week before when she was looking 
down into the cistern to see what she could see. 
It was exactly the same gold buckskin whincher 
shining and glittering like a sign of happiness. 

"It's luck," said Jason Squiff, wiping his 
fingers on his greenish yellowish hair. Then 
he put the gold buckskin whincher in his vest 
pocket and spoke to himself again, "It's luck.' : 

A little after six o'clock that night Jason 

81 



The Story of Jason Squiff's 

SquifT stepped into his house and home and said 
hello to his wife and daughters. They all be- 
gan to laugh. Their laughter was a ticklish 
laughter. 

"Something funny is happening/ 5 he said. 

"And you are it/' they all laughed at him 
again with ticklish laughter. 

Then they showed him. His hat was pop- 
corn, his mittens popcorn and his shoes popcorn. 
He didn't know the gold buckskin whincher 
had a power and was working all the time. He 
didn't know the whincher in his vest pocket 
was saying, "You have a letter Q in your name 
and because you have the pleasure and happi- 
ness of having a Q in your name you must have 
a popcorn hat, popcorn mittens and popcorn 
shoes. 51 

The next morning he put on another hat, 
another pair of mittens and another pair of 
shoes. And the minute he put them on they 
changed to popcorn. 

So he tried on all his hats, mittens and shoes. 

82 




His hat was popcorn, his mittens popcorn and his 

shoes popcorn 



Popcorn Hat, Mittens and Shoes 

Always they changed to popcorn the minute he 
had them on. 

He went downtown to the stores. He bought 
a new hat, mittens and shoes. And the 
minute he had them on they changed to pop- 
corn. 

So he decided he would go to work and clean 
cisterns with his popcorn hat, popcorn mittens 
and popcorn shoes on. 

The people of the Village of Cream Puffs 
enjoyed watching him walk up the street, going 
to clean cisterns. People five and six blocks 
away could see him coming and going with his 
popcorn hat, popcorn mittens and popcorn 
shoes. 

When he was down in a cistern the children 
enjoyed looking down into the cistern to see 
him work. When none of the slush and mud 
fell on his hat and mittens he was easy to find. 
The light of the shining popcorn lit up the 
whole inside of the cistern. 

Sometimes, of course, the white popcorn got 

85 



The Story of Jason S quiff's 

full of black slush and black mud. And then 
when Jason Squiff came up and walked home 
he was not quite so dazzling to look at. 

It was a funny winter for Jason Squiff. 

"It's a crime, a dirty crime/' 1 he said to him- 
self. "Now I can never be alone with my 
thoughts. Everybody looks at me when I go 
up the street. r 

"If I meet a funeral even the pall bearers 
begin to laugh at my popcorn hat. If I meet 
people going to a wedding they throw all the 
rice at me as if I am a bride and a groom all 
together. 

"The horses try to eat my hat wherever I go. 
Three hats I have fed to horses this winter. 

"And if I accidentally drop one of my mit- 
tens the chickens eat it/ 

Then Jason Squiff began to change. He be- 
came proud. 

"I always wanted a white beautiful hat like 
this white popcorn hat," he said to himself. 

86 



Popcorn Hat, Mittens and Shoes 

"And I always wanted white beautiful mittens 
and white beautiful shoes like these white pop- 
corn mittens and shoes. >: 

When the boys yelled, "Snow man! yah-de- 
dah-de-dah, Snow man! 5 he just waved his 
hand to them with an upward gesture of his 
arm to show he was proud of how he looked. 

"They all watch for me," he said to himself, 
"I am distinquished am I not? : } he asked him- 
self. 

And he put his right hand into his left hand 
and shook hands with himself and said, "You 
certainly look fixed up." 

One day he decided to throw away his vest. 
In the vest pocket was the gold buckskin 
whincher, with the power working, the power 
saying, "You have a letter Q in your name and 
because you have the pleasure and happiness 
of having a Q in your name you must have a 
popcorn hat, popcorn mittens and popcorn 
shoes.' : 

87 



The Story of Jason Squiff 

Yes, he threw away the vest. He forgot all 
about the gold buckskin whincher being in the 
vest. 

He just handed the vest to a rag man. And 
the rag man put the vest with the gold buckskin 
whincher in a bag on his back and walked away. 

After that Jason Squiff was like other people. 
His hats would never change to popcorn nor his 
mittens to popcorn nor his shoes to popcorn. 

And when anybody looked at him down in 
a cistern cleaning the cistern or when anybody 
saw him walking along the street they knew 
him by his greenish yellowish hair which was 
always full of bright lights. 

And so if you have a Q in your name, be 
careful if you ever come across a gold buckskin 
whincher. Remember different whinchers 
have different powers. 




The Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two 

Blue Rats, and the Circus Man Who 
Came with Spot Cash Money 

Rags Habakuk was going home. His day's 
work was done. The sun was down. Street 
lamps began shining. Burglars were starting 
on their night's work. It was no time for an 
honest ragman to be knocking on people's back 
doors, saying, "Any ragsr or else saying, 
"Any rags? any bottles? any bones? 5 or else 
saying "Any rags? any bottles? any bones? any 
old iron? any copper, brass, old shoes all run 
down and no good to anybody to-day? any old 



Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two 

clothes, old coats, pants, vests? I take any old 
clothes you got.' : 

Yes, Rags Habakuk was going home. In the 
gunnysack bag on his back, humped up on top 
of the rag humps in the bag, was an old vest. It 
was the same old vest Jason SquifT threw out 
of a door at Rags Habakuk. In the pocket of 
the vest was the gold buckskin whincher with 
a power in it. 

Well, Rags Habakuk got home just like al- 
ways, sat down to supper and smacked his mouth 
and had a big supper of fish, just like always. 
Then he went out to a shanty in the back yard 
and opened up the gunnysack rag bag and fixed 
things out classified just like every day when 
he came home he opened the gunnysack bag 
and fixed things out classified. 

The last thing of all he fixed out classified 
was the vest with the gold buckskin whincher 
in the pocket. "Put it on it's a glad rag," 
he said, looking at the vest. "It's a lucky vest." 
So he put his right arm in the right armhole and 

90 



Blue Rats and the Circus Man 

his left arm in the left armhole. And there he 
was with his arms in the armholes of the old 
vest all fixed out classified new. 

Next morning Rags Habakuk kissed his 
wife g'by and his eighteen year old girl g'by 
and his nineteen year old girl g'by. He kissed 
them just like he always kissed them in a 
hurry and as he kissed each one he said, "I 
will be back soon if not sooner and when I come 
back I will return/ 

Yes, up the street went Rags Habakuk. And 
soon as he left home something happened. 
Standing on his right shoulder was a blue rat 
and standing on his left shoulder was a blue 
rat. The only way he knew they were there 
was by looking at them. 

There they were, close to his ears. He could 
feel the far edge of their whiskers against his 
ears. 

"This never happened to me before all the 
time I been picking rags," he said. "Two blue 
rats stand by my ears and never say anything 



Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two 

even if they know I am listening to anything 
they tell me.' : 

So Rags Habakuk walked on two blocks, 
three blocks, four blocks, squinting with his 
right eye slanting at the blue rat on his right 
shoulder and squinting with his left eye slant- 
ing at the blue rat on his left shoulder. 

"If I stood on somebody's shoulder with my 
whiskers right up in somebody's ear I would 
say something for somebody to listen to," he 
muttered. 

Of course, he did not understand it was the 
gold buckskin whincher and the power work- 
ing. Down in the pocket of the vest he had 
on, the gold buckskin whincher power was 
saying, "Because you have two K's in your 
name you must have two blue rats on your 
shoulders, one blue rat for your right ear, one 
blue rat for your left ear/ 

It was good business. Never before did 
Rags Habakuk get so much old rags. 

92 



Blue Rats and the Circus Man 

"Come again you and your lucky blue 
rats/ 5 people said to him. They dug into their 
cellars and garrets and brought him bottles and 
bones and copper and brass and old shoes and 
old clothes, coats, pants, vests. 

Every morning when he went up the street 
with the two blue rats on his shoulders, blink- 
ing their eyes straight ahead and chewing their 
whiskers so they sometimes tickled the ears of 
old Rags Habakuk, sometimes women came 
running out on the front porch to look at him 
and say, "Well, if he isn't a queer old mysteri- 
ous ragman and if those ain't queer old mys- 
terious blue rats!' 

All the time the gold buckskin whincher and 
the power was working. It was saying, "So 
long as old Rags Habakuk keeps the two blue 
rats he shall have good luck but if he ever 
sells one of the blue rats then one of his daugh- 
ters shall marry a taxicab driver and if he 
ever sells the other blue rat then his other 

93 



Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two 
daughter shall marry a moving-picture hero 



actor." 



Then terrible things happened. A circus 
man came. "I give you one thousand dollars 
spot cash money for one of the blue rats, 53 he 
expostulated with his mouth. "And I give you 
two thousand dollars spot cash money for the 
two of the blue rats both of them together/ 

"Show me how much spot cash money two 
thousand dollars is all counted out in one pile 
for one man to carry away home in his gunny- 
sack rag bag/ : was the answer of Rags Haba- 
kuk. 

The circus man went to the bank and came 
back with spot cash greenbacks money. 

"This spot cash greenbacks money is made 
from the finest silk rags printed by the national 
government for the national republic to make 
business rich and prosperous/' said the circus 
man, expostulating with his mouth. 

"T-h-e f-i-n-e-s-t s-i-l-k r-a-g-s/ : he ex- 

94 



Blue Rats and the Circus Man 

postulated again holding two fingers under the 
nose of Rags Habakuk. 

"I take it," said Rags Habakuk, "I take it. 
It is a whole gunnysack bag full of spot cash 
greenbacks money. I tell my wife it is printed 
by the national government for the national re- 
public to make business rich and prosper- 



ous." 



Then he kissed the blue rats, one on the 
right ear, the other on the left ear, and handed 
them over to the circus man. 

And that was why the next month his eigh- 
teen year old daughter married a taxicab driver 
who was so polite all the time to his customers 
that he never had time to be polite to his wife. 

And that was why his nineteen year old 
daughter married a moving-picture hero actor 
who worked so hard being nice and kind in the 
moving pictures that he never had enough left 
over for his wife when he got home after the 
day's work. 

95 



The Story of Rags Habakuk 

And the lucky vest with the gold buckskin 
whincher was stolen from Rags Habakuk by 
the taxicab driver. 




4. Four Stories About the Deep 
Doom of Dark Doorways 

People: The Rag Doll 

The Broom Handle 
Spoon Lickers 
Chocolate Chins 
Dirty Bibs 
Tin Pan Bangers 
Clean Ears 
Easy Ticklers 
Musical Soup Eaters 
Chubby Chubs 
Sleepy Heads 

Snoo Foo 

Blink, Swink and Jink 
Blunk, Swunk and Junk 
Missus Sniggers 

Eeta Peeca Pie 
Meeny Miney 
Miney Mo 

A Potato Bug Millionaire 

Bimbo the Snip 

Bevo the Hike 

A Ward Alderman 

A Barn Boss 

A Weather Man 

A Traffic Policeman 

A Monkey 

A Widow Woman 

An Umbrella Handle Maker 




The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll 
and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It 

The Rag Doll had many friends. The 
Whisk Broom, the Furnace Shovel, the Coffee 
Pot, they all liked the Rag Doll very much. 

But when the Rag Doll married, it was the 
Broom Handle she picked because the Broom 
Handle fixed her eyes. 

A proud child, proud but careless, banged the 
head of the Rag Doll against a door one day 
and knocked off both the glass eyes sewed on 

99 



Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll 

long ago. It was then the Broom Handle found 
two black California prunes, and fastened the 
two California prunes just where the eyes be- 
longed. So then the Rag Doll had two fine 
black eyes brand new. She was even nick- 
named Black Eyes by some people. 

There was a wedding when the Rag Doll 
married the Broom Handle. It was a grand 
wedding with one of the grandest processions 
ever seen at a rag doll wedding. And we are 
sure no broom handle ever had a grander wed- 
ding procession when he got married. 

Who marched in the procession? Well, first 
came the Spoon Lickers. Every one of them 
had a tea spoon, or a soup spoon, though most 
of them had a big table spoon. On the spoons, 
what did they have? Oh, some had butter 
scotch, some had gravy, some had marshmallow 
fudge. Every one had something slickery sweet 
or fat to eat on the spoon. And as they marched 
in the wedding procession of the Rag Doll and 
the Broom Handle, they licked their spoons and 

100 



And Broom Handle and Who Was in It 

looked around and licked their spoons again. 

Next came the Tin Pan Bangers. Some had 
dishpans, some had frying pans, some had po- 
tato peeling pans. All the pans were tin with 
tight tin bottoms. And the Tin Pan Bangers 
banged with knives and forks and iron and 
wooden bangers on the bottoms of the tin pans. 
And as they marched in the wedding procession 
of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle they 
banged their pans and looked around and 
banged again. 

Then came the Chocolate Chins. They were 
all eating chocolates. And the chocolate was 
slippery and slickered all over their chins. 
Some of them spattered the ends of their noses 
with black chocolate. Some of them spread 
the brown chocolate nearly up to their ears. 
And then as they marched in the wedding pro- 
cession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle 
they stuck their chins in the air and looked 
around and stuck their chins in the air again. 

Then came the Dirty Bibs. They wore plain 

101 



Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll 

white bibs, checker bibs, stripe bibs, blue bibs 

and bibs with butterflies. But all the bibs were 
dirty. The plain white bibs were dirty, the 

checker bibs were dirty, the stripe bibs, the blue 
bibs and the bibs with butterflies on them, they 
were all dirty. And so in the wedding proces- 
sion of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle^ 
the Dirty Bibs marched with their dirty fingers 
on the bibs and they looked around and laughed 
and looked around and laughed again. 

Next came the Clean Ears. They were 
proud. How they got into the procession no- 
body knows. Their ears were all clean. They 
were clean not only on the outside but they 
were clean on the inside. There was not a 
speck of dirt or dust or muss or mess on the 
inside nor the outside of their ears. And so 
in the wedding procession of the Rag Doll 
and the Broom Handle, they wiggled their ears 
and looked around and wiggled their ears again. 

The Easy Ticklers were next in the proces- 
sion. Their faces were shining. Their cheeks 

1 02 



And Broom Handle and Who Was in It 

were like bars of new soap. Their ribs were 
strong and the meat and the fat was thick on 
their ribs. It was plain to see they were saying, 
"Don't tickle me because I tickle so easy." 
And as they marched in the wedding procession 
of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle, they 
tickled themselves and laughed and looked 
around and tickled themselves again. 

The music was furnished mostly by the 
Musical Soup Eaters. They marched with big 
bowls of soup in front of them and big spoons 
for eating the soup. They whistled and 
chuzzled and snozzled the soup and the noise 
they made could be heard far up at the head 
of the procession where the Spoon Lickers were 
marching. So they dipped their soup and 
looked around and dipped their soup again. 

The Chubby Chubs were next. They were 
roly poly, round faced smackers and snoozers. 
They were not fat babies oh no, oh no not 
fat but just chubby and easy to squeeze. They 
marched on their chubby legs and chubby feet 

103 



Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll 

and chubbed their chubbs and looked around 
and chubbed their chubbs again. 

The last of all in the wedding procession of 
the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle were the 
Sleepyheads. They were smiling and glad to 
be marching but their heads were slimpsing 
down and their smiles were half fading away 
and their eyes were half shut or a little more 
than half shut. They staggered just a little 
as though their feet were not sure where they 
were going. They were the Sleepyheads, the 
last of all, in the wedding procession of the 
Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and the 
Sleepyheads they never looked around at all. 

It 'was a grand procession, don't you think 

S0?j 




104 




How the Hat Ashes Shovel Helped Snoo 

Foo 

If you want to remember the names of all 
six of the Sniggers children, remember that 
the three biggest were named Blink, Swink and 
Jink but the three littlest ones were named 
Blunk, Swunk and Junk. One day last January 
the three biggest had a fuss with the three lit- 
tlest. The fuss was about a new hat for Snoo 
Foo, the snow man, about what kind of a hat 
he should wear and how he should wear it. 
Blink, Swink and Jink said, "He wants a 

105 



How the Hat Ashes 

crooked hat put on straight.' Blunk, Swunk 
and Junk said, "He wants a straight hat put 
on crooked. 5 They fussed and fussed. Blink 
fussed with Blunk, Swink fussed with Swunk, 
and Jink fussed with Junk. The first ones to 
make up after the fuss were Jink and Junk. 
They decided the best way to settle the fuss. 
"Let's put a crooked hat on crooked/' said Jink. 
"No, let's put a straight hat on straight, ' : said 
Junk. Then they stood looking and looking 
into each other's shiny laughing eyes and then 
both of them exploded to each other at the same 
time, "Let's put on two hats, a crooked hat 
crooked and a straight hat straight." 

Well, they looked around for hats. But 
there were not any hats anywhere, that is, no 
hats big enough for a snow man with a big head 
like Snoo Foo. So they went in the house and 
asked their mother for the hat ashes shovel. 
Of course, in most any other house, the mother 
would be all worried if six children came 
tramping and clomping in, banging the door 

1 06 



Shovel Helped Snoo Foo 

and all six ejaculating to their mother at once, 
"Where is the hat ashes shovel ? : But Missus 
Sniggers wasn't worried at all. She rubbed her 
chin with her finger and said softly, "Oh lah 
de dah, oh lah de dah, where is that hat ashes 
shovel, last week I had it when I was making 
a hat for Mister Sniggers; I remember I had 
that hat ashes shovel right up here over the 
clock, oh lah de dah, oh lah de dah. Go out and 
ring the front door bell," she said to Jink Snig- 
gers. Jink ran away to the front door. And 
Missus Sniggers and the five children waited. 
Bling-bling the bell began ringing and listen 
the door of the clock opened and the hat ashes 
shovel fell out. "Oh lah de dah, get out of 
here in a hurry," said Missus Sniggers. 

Well, the children ran out and dug a big pail 
of hat ashes with the hat ashes shovel. And 
they made two hats for Snoo Foo. One was a 
crooked hat. The other was a straight hat. 
And they put the crooked hat on crooked and 
the straight hat on straight. And there stood 

107 



How Snoo Foo Was Helped 

Snoo Foo in the front yard and everybody who 
came by on the street, he would take off his 
hat to them, the crooked hat with his arm 
crooked and the straight hat with his arm 
straight. That was the end of the fuss between 
the Sniggers children and it was Jink, the littlest 
one of the biggest, and Junk, the littlest one 
of the littlest, who settled the fuss by looking 
clean into each other's eyes and laughing. If 
you ever get into a fuss try this way of settling 
it. 



1 08 




Three Boys With Jugs of Molasses and 

Secret Ambitions 

In the Village of Liver-and-Onions, if one 
boy goes to the grocery for a jug of molasses 
it is just like always. And if two boys go to 
the grocery for a jug of molasses together it 
is just like always. But if three boys go to the 
grocery for a jug of molasses each and all to- 
gether then it is not like always at all, at all. 

Eeta Peeca Pie grew up with wishes and 
wishes working inside him. And for every 
wish inside him he had a freckle outside on his 
face. Whenever he smiled the smile ran way 

109 



Three Boys with Jugs of 

back into the far side of his face and got lost 
in the wishing freckles. 

Meeny Miney grew up with suspicions and 
suspicions working inside him. And after a 
while some of the suspicions got fastened on 
his eyes and some of the suspicions got fas- 
tened on his mouth. So when he looked at 
other people straight in the face they used 
to say, "Meeny Miney looks so sad-like I won- 
der if he'll get by." 

Miney Mo was different. He wasn't sad- 
like and suspicious like Meeny Miney. Nor 
was he full of wishes inside and freckles out- 
side like Eeta Peeca Pie. He was all mixed up 
inside with wishes and suspicions. So he had 
a few freckles and a few suspicions on his face. 
When he looked other people straight in the 
face they used to say, "I don't know whether 
to laugh or cry.' : 

So here we have 'em, three boys growing up 
with wishes, suspicions and mixed-up wishes 
and suspicions. They all looked different from 

no 



Molasses and Secret Ambitions 

each other. Each one, however, had a secret 
ambition. And all three had the same secret 
ambition. 

An ambition is a little creeper that creeps 
and creeps in your heart night and day, singing 
a little song, "Come and find me, come and 
find me/ 

The secret ambition in the heart of Eeta 
Peeca Pie, Meeney Miney, and Miney Mo was 
an ambition to go railroading, to ride on rail- 
road cars night and day, year after year. The 
whistles and the wheels of railroad trains were 
music to them. 

Whenever the secret ambition crept in their 
hearts and made them too sad, so sad it was 
hard to live and stand for it, they would all 
three put their hands on each other's shoulder 
and sing the song of Joe. The chorus was like 

this: 

Joe, Joe, broke his toe, 
On the way to Mexico. 
Came back, broke his back, 
Sliding on the railroad track. 
Ill 



Three Boys with Jugs of 

One fine summer morning all three mothers 
of all three boys gave each one a jug and said, 
"Go to the grocery and get a jug of molasses. >: 
All three got to the grocery at the same time. 
And all three went out of the door of the gro- 
cery together, each with a jug of molasses to- 
gether and each with his secret ambition creep- 
ing around in his heart, all three together. 

Two blocks from the grocery they stopped 
under a slippery elm tree. Eeta Peeca Pie was 
stretching his neck looking straight up into the 
slippery elm tree. He said it was always good 
for his freckles and it helped his wishes to stand 
under a slippery elm and look up. 

While he was looking up his left hand let go 
the jug handle of the jug of molasses. And the 
jug went ka-flump, ka-flumpety-flump down on 
the stone sidewalk, cracked to pieces and let 
the molasses go running out over the side- 
walk. 

If you have never seen it, let me tell you mo- 
lasses running out of a broken jug, over a stone 

112 




They stepped into the molasses with their bare feet 



Molasses and Secret Ambitions 

sidewalk under a slippery elm tree, looks pe- 
culiar and mysterious. 

Eeta Peeca Pie stepped into the molasses with 
his bare feet. "It's a lotta fun,' ; he said. "It 
tickles all over.' : So Meeney Miney and Miney 
Mo both stepped into the molasses with their 
bare feet. 

Then what happened just happened. One 
got littler. Another got littler. All three got 
littler. 

"You look to me only big as a potato bug," 
said Eeta Peeca Pie to Meeney Miney and 
Miney Mo. "It's the same like you look to us,' : 
said Meeney Miney and Miney Mo to Eeta 
Peeca Pie. And then because their secret am- 
bition began to hurt them they all stood with 
hands on each other's shoulders and sang the 
Mexico Joe song. 

Off the sidewalk they strolled, across a field 
of grass. They passed many houses of spiders 
and ants. In front of one house they saw Mrs. 

115 



Three Boys with Jugs of 

Spider over a tub washing clothes for Mr. 
Spider. 

"Why do you wear that frying pan on your 
head? 3 they asked her. 

"In this country all ladies wear the frying 
pan on their head when they want a hat." 

"But what if you want a hat when you are 
frying with the frying pan? " asked Eeta Peeca 
Pie. 

"That never happens to any respectable lady 
in this country." 

"Don't you never have no new style hats?" 
asked Meeney Miney. 

"No, but we always have new style frying 
pans every spring and fall/ 

Hidden in the roots of a pink grass clump, 
they came to a city of twisted-nose spiders. On 
the main street was a store with a show window 
full of pink parasols. They walked in and said 
to the clerk, "We want to buy parasols. y 

"We don't sell parasols here," said the spider 
clerk. 

116 



Molasses and Secret Ambitions 

"Well, lend us a parasol apiece/ 5 said all 
three. 

"Gladly, most gladly/ 5 said the clerk. 

"How do you do it? 55 asked Eeta. 

"I don't have to/ 5 answered the spider clerk. 

"How did it begin? 55 

"It never was otherwise. 5: 

"Don 5 t you never get tired? 3 

"Every parasol is a joy. 5: 

"What do you do when the parasols are 
gone? 5 

"They always come back. These are the 
famous twisted-nose parasols made from the 
famous pink grass. You will lose them all, 
all three. Then they will all walk back to me 
here in this store on main street. I can not sell 
you something I know you will surely lose. 
Neither can I ask you to pay, for something 
you will forget, somewhere sometime, and 
when you forget it, it will walk back here to 
me again. Look look! 5 

As he said "Look, 55 the door opened and five 

117 



Three Boys with Jugs of 

pink parasols came waltzing in and waltzed up 
into the show window. 

"They always come back. Everybody for- 
gets. Take your parasols and go. You will 
forget them and they will come back to me/ 

"He looks like he had wishes inside him/ : 
said Eeta Peeca Pie. 

"He looks like he had suspicions/' said 
Meeney Miney. 

"He looks like he was all mixed up wishes 
and suspicions/' 1 said Miney Mo. 

And once more because they all felt lone- 
some and their secret ambitions were creeping 
and eating, they put their hands on their shoul- 
ders and sang the Mexico Joe song. 

Then came happiness. They entered the 
Potato Bug Country. And they had luck first 
of all the first hour they were in the Potato 
Bug Country. They met a Potato Bug mil- 
lionaire. 

"How are you a millionaire? 5 they asked 
him. 

118 



Molasses and Secret Ambitions 

"Because I got a million," he answered. 

"A million what?" 

"A million fleems." 

"Who wants fleems?" 

"You want fleems if you're going to live 
here." 

"Why so?" 

"Because fleems is our money. In the Potato 
Bug Country, if you got no fleems you can't 
buy nothing nor anything. But if you got a 
million fleems you're a Potato Bug millionaire." 

Then he surprised them. 

"I like you because you got wishes and 
freckles," he said to Eeta Peeca Pie, filling 
the pockets of Eeta with fleems. 

"And I like you because you got suspicions 
and you're sad-like," he said to Meeney Miney 
filling Meeney Miney's pockets full of fleems. 

"And I like you because you got some wishes 
and some suspicions and you look mixed up," he 
said to Miney Mo, sticking handfuls and hand- 
fuls of fleems into the pockets of Miney Mo. 

119 



Three Boys with Jugs of 

Wishes do come true. And suspicions do 
come true. Here they had been wishing all 
their lives, and had suspicions of what was go- 
ing to happen, and now it all came true. 

With their pockets filled with fleems they 
rode on all the railroad trains of the Potato 
Bug Country. They went to the railroad sta- 
tions and bought tickets for the fast trains and 
the slow trains and even the trains that back 
up and run backward instead of where they 
start to go. 

On the dining cars of the railroads of the 
Potato Bug Country they ate wonder ham from 
the famous Potato Bug Pigs, eggs from the Po- 
tato Bug Hens, et cetera. 

It seemed to them they stayed a long while 
in the Potato Bug Country, years and years. 

Yes, the time came when all their fleems were 
gone. Then whenever they wanted a railroad 
ride or something to eat or a place to sleep, they 
put their hands on each other's shoulders and 
sang the Mexico Joe song. In the Potato Bug 

1 20 



Molasses and Secret Ambitions 

Country they all said the Mexico Joe song was 
wonderful. 

One morning while they were waiting to 
take an express train on the Early Ohio & 
Southwestern they sat near the roots of a big 
potato plant under the big green leaves. And 
far above them they saw a dim black cloud and 
they heard a shaking and a rustling and a spat- 
tering. They did not know it was a man of 
the Village of Liver-and-Onions. They did 
not know it was Mr. Sniggers putting paris 
green on the potato plants. 

A big drop of paris green spattered down and 
fell onto the heads and shoulders of all three, 
Eeta Peeca Pie, Meeny Miney and Miney Mo. 

Then what happened just happened. They 
got bigger and bigger one, two, three. And 
when they jumped up and ran out of the potato 
rows, Mr. Sniggers thought they were boys 
playing tricks. 

When they got home to their mothers and 
told all about the jug of molasses breaking on 

121 



Story of Three Boys 

the stone sidewalk under the slippery elm tree, 
their mothers said it was careless. The boys 
said it was lucky because it helped them get 
their secret ambitions. 

And a secret ambition is a little creeper that 
creeps and creeps in your heart night and day, 
singing a little song, "Come and find me, come 
and find me." 




i 



122 




How Bimbo the Snip's Thumb Stuck to 
His Nose When the Wind Changed 

Once there was a boy in the Village of Liver- 
and-Onions whose name was Bimbo the Snip. 
He forgot nearly everything his father and 
mother told him to do and told him not to do. 

One day his father, Bevo the Hike, came 
home and found Bimbo the Snip sitting on the 
front steps with his thumb fastened to his nose 
and the fingers wiggling. 

"I can't take my thumb away," said Bimbo 
the Snip, "because when I put my thumb to my 
nose and wiggled my fingers at the iceman the 

123 



How Bimbo the Snip's Thumb Stuck to 

wind changed. And just like mother always 
said, if the wind changed the thumb would stay 
fastened to my nose and not come off.' : 

Bevo the Hike took hold of the thumb and 
pulled. He tied a clothes line rope around it 
and pulled. He pushed with his foot and heel 
against it. And all the time the thumb stuck 
fast and the fingers wiggled from the end of 
the nose of Bimbo the Snip. 

Bevo the Hike sent for the ward alderman. 
The ward alderman sent for the barn boss of 
the street cleaning department. The barn boss 
of the street cleaning department sent for the 
head vaccinator of the vaccination bureau of the 
health department. The head vaccinator of the 
vaccination bureau of the health department 
sent for the big main fixer of the weather bu- 
reau where they understand the tricks of the 
wind and the wind changing. 

And the big main fixer of the weather bu- 
reau said, "If you hit the thumb six times with 

124 



His Nose When the Wind Changed 

the end of a traffic policeman's club, the thumb 
will come loose/ 

So Bevo the Hike went to a traffic police- 
man standing on a street corner with a whistle 
telling the wagons and cars which way to 

go- 
He told the traffic policeman, "The wind 

changed and Bimbo the Snip's thumb is fas- 
tened to his nose and will not come loose till 
it is hit six times with the end of a traffic po- 
liceman's club.' : 

"I can't help you unless you find a monkey 
to take my place standing on the corner tell- 
ing the wagons and cars which way to go,' : 
answered the traffic policeman. 

So Bevo the Hike went to the zoo and said 
to a monkey, "The wind changed and Bimbo 
the Snip's thumb is fastened to his nose and will 
not come loose till it is hit with the end of a 
traffic policeman's club six times and the traffic 
policeman cannot leave his place on the street 

125 



How Bimbo the Snip's Thumb Stuck to 

corner telling the traffic which way to go unless 
a monkey comes and takes his place. r 

The monkey answered, "Get me a ladder 
with a whistle so I can climb up and whistle 
and tell the traffic which way to go. ?: 

So Bevo the Hike hunted and hunted over 
the city and looked and looked and asked and 
asked till his feet and his eyes and his head and 
his heart were tired from top to bottom. 

Then he met an old widow woman whose 
husband had been killed in a sewer explosion 
when he was digging sewer ditches. And the 
old woman was carrying a bundle of picked-up 
kindling wood in a bag on her back because she 
did not have money enough to buy coal. 

Bevo the Hike told her, "You have troubles. 
So have I. You are carrying a load on your 
back people can see. I am carrying a load and 
nobody sees it.' : 

"Tell me your troubles," said the old widow 
woman. He told her. And she said, "In the 

next block is an old umbrella handle maker. 

126 



His Nose When the Wind Changed 

He has a ladder with a whistle. He climbs on 
the ladder when he makes long long umbrella 
handles. And he has the whistle on the ladder 
to be whistling. 31 

Bevo the Hike went to the next block, found 
the house of the umbrella handle maker and 
said to him, "The wind changed and Bimbo 
the Snip's thumb is fastened to his nose and 
will not come loose till it is hit with the end 
of a traffic policeman's club six times and the 
traffic policeman cannot leave the corner where 
he is telling the traffic which way to go unless 
a monkey takes his place and the monkey can- 
not take his place unless he has a ladder with 
a whistle to stand on and whistle the wagons 
and cars which way to go." 

Then the umbrella handle maker said, "To- 
night I have a special job because I must work 
on a long, long umbrella handle and I will need 
the ladder to climb up and the whistle to be 
whistling. But if you promise to have the lad- 
der back by to-night you can take it." 

127 



Bimbo the Snip's Thumb 

Bevo the Hike promised. Then he took the 
ladder with a whistle to the monkey, the mon- 
key took the place of the traffic policeman while 
the traffic policeman went to the home of Bevo 
the Hike where Bimbo the Snip was sitting on 
the front steps with his thumb fastened to his 
nose wiggling his fingers at everybody passing 
by on the street. 

The traffic policeman hit Bimbo the Snip's 
thumb five times with the club. And the 
thumb stuck fast. But the sixth time it was 
hit with the end of the traffic policeman's thumb 
club, it came loose. 

Then Bevo thanked the policeman, thanked 
the monkey, and took the ladder with the 
whistle back to the umbrella handle maker's 
house and thanked him. 

When Bevo the Hike got home that night 
Bimbo the Snip was in bed and all tickled. He 
said to his father, "I will be careful how I stick 
my thumb to my nose and wiggle my fingers 
the next time the wind changes." 

128 




The monkey took the place of the traffic policeman 



5. Three Stories About Three 
Ways the Wind Went Winding 

People: Two Skyscrapers 

The Northwest Wind 

The Golden Spike Limited 

Train 

A Tin Brass Goat 
A Tin Brass Goose 
Newsies 

Young Leather 

Red Slippers 

A Man to be Hanged 

Five Jackrabbits 

The Wooden Indian 
The Shaghorn Buffalo 
The Night Policeman 




The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to 

Have a Child 

Two skyscrapers stood across the street from 
each other in the Village of Liver-and-Onions. 
In the daylight when the streets poured full 
of people buying and selling, these two sky- 
scrapers talked with each other the same as 
mountains talk. 

In the night time when all the people buying 
and selling were gone home and there were only 
policemen and taxicab drivers on the streets, in 
the night when a mist crept up the streets and 

133 



The Two Skyscrapers Who 

threw a purple and gray wrapper over every- 
thing, in the night when the stars and the sky 
shook out sheets of purple and gray mist down 
over the town, then the two skyscrapers leaned 
toward each other and whispered. 

Whether they whispered secrets to each other 
or whether they whispered simple things that 
you and I know and everybody knows, that is 
their secret. One thing is sure : they often were 
seen leaning toward each other and whispering 
in the night the same as mountains lean and 
whisper in the night. 

High on the roof of one of the skyscrapers 
was a tin brass goat looking out across prairies, 
and silver blue lakes shining like blue porcelain 
breakfast plates, and out across silver snakes 
of winding rivers in the morning sun. And 
high on the roof of the other skyscraper was a 
tin brass goose looking out across prairies, and 
silver blue lakes shining like blue porcelain 
breakfast plates, and out across silver snakes 
of winding rivers in the morning sun. 

134 



Decided to Have a Child 

Now the Northwest Wind was a friend of 
the two skyscrapers. Coming so far, coming 
five hundred miles in a few hours, coming so 
fast always while the skyscrapers were stand- 
ing still, standing always on the same old street 
corners always, the Northwest Wind was a 
bringer of news. 

"Well, I see the city is here yet," the North- 
west Wind would whistle to the skyscrapers. 

And they would answer, "Yes, and are the 
mountains standing yet way out yonder where 
you come from, Wind?" 

"Yes, the mountains are there yonder, and 
farther yonder is the sea, and the railroads are 
still going, still running across the prairie to 
the mountains, to the sea," the Northwest Wind 
would answer. 

j 

And now there was a pledge made by the 
Northwest Wind to the two skyscrapers. Often 
the Northwest Wind shook the tin brass goat 
and shook the tin brass goose on top of the sky- 
scrapers. 

135 



The Two Skyscrapers Who 

"Are you going to blow loose the tin brass 
goat on my roof? 3 ' one asked. 

"Are you going to blow loose the tin brass 
goose on my roof? 3 the other asked. 

"Oh, no/ 5 the Northwest Wind laughed, first 
to one and then to the other, "if I ever blow 
loose your tin brass goat and if I ever blow 
loose your tin brass goose, it will be when I am 
sorry for you because you are up against hard 
luck and there is somebody's funeral." 

So time passed on and the two skyscrapers 
stood with their feet among the policemen and 
the taxicabs, the people buying and selling, 
the customers with parcels, packages and 
bundles while away high on their roofs stood 
the goat and the goose looking out on silver blue 
lakes like blue porcelain breakfast plates and 
silver snakes of rivers winding in the morn- 
ing sun. 

So time passed on and the Northwest Wind 
kept coming, telling the news and making 
promises. 

136 



Decided to Have a Child 

So time passed on. And the two skyscrapers 
decided to have a child. 

And they decided when their child came 
it should be a free child. 

"It must be a free child/' they said to each 
other. "It must not be a child standing still 
all its life on a street corner. Yes, if we have 
a child she must be free to run across the prairie, 
to the mountains, to the sea. Yes, it must be 
a free child/ 

So time passed on. Their child came. It 
was a railroad train, the Golden Spike Limited, 
the fastest long distance train in the Roota- 
baga Country. It ran across the prairie, to the 
mountains, to the sea. 

They were glad, the two skyscrapers were, 
glad to have a free child running away from, 
the big city, far away to the mountains, far 
away to the sea, running as far as the farthest 
mountains and sea coasts touched by the North- 
west Wind. 

They were glad their child was useful, the 

137 



The Two Skyscrapers Who 

two skyscrapers were, glad their child was car- 
rying a thousand people a thousand miles a 
day, so when people spoke of the Golden Spike 
Limited, they spoke of it as a strong, lovely 
child. 

Then time passed on. There came a day 
when the newsies yelled as though they were 
crazy. "Yah yah, blah blah, yoh yoh, ); was 
what it sounded like to the two skyscrapers who 
never bothered much about what the newsies 
were yelling. 

"Yah yah, blah blah, yoh yoh/' was the cry 
of the newsies that came up again to the tops 
of the skyscrapers. 

At last the yelling of the newsies came so 
strong the skyscrapers listened and heard the 
newsies yammering, "All about the great train 
wreck! All about the Golden Spike disaster! 
Many lives lost ! Many lives lost ! ' 

And the Northwest Wind came howling a 
slow sad song. And late that afternoon a crowd 
of policemen, taxicab ; drivers, newsies and 

138 



Decided to Have a Child 

customers with bundles, all stood around talking 
and wondering about two things next to each 
other on the street car track in the middle of the 
street. One was a tin brass goat. The other 
was a tin brass goose. And they lay next to each 
other. 



139 




The Dollar Watch and the Five Jack 

Rabbits 

Long ago, long before the waylacks lost the 
wonderful stripes of oat straw gold and the 
spots of timothy hay green in their marvelous 
curving tail feathers, long before the doo-doo- 
j angers whistled among the honeysuckle blos- 
soms and the bitter-basters cried their last and 
dying wrangling cries, long before the sad hap- 
penings that came later, it was then, some years 
earlier than the year Fifty Fifty, that Young 
Leather and Red Slippers crossed the Rootabaga 

Country. 

141 



The Dollar Watch and 

To begin with, they were walking across the 
Rootabaga Country. And they were walking 
because it made their feet glad to feel the dirt 
of the earth under their shoes and they were 
close to the smells of the earth. They learned 
the ways of birds and bugs, why birds have 
wings, why bugs have legs, why the gladdy- 
whingers have spotted eggs in a basket nest in a 
booblow tree, and why the chizzywhizzies 
scrape off little fiddle songs all summer long 
while the summer nights last. 

Early one morning they were walking across 
the corn belt of the Rootabaga Country singing, 
"Deep Down Among the Dagger Dancers. J: 
They had just had a breakfast of coffee and hot 
hankypank cakes covered with cow's butter. 
Young Leather said to Red Slippers, "What 
is the best secret we have come across this sum- 
mer? 3 

"That is easy to answer/' Red Slippers said 
with a long flish of her long black eyelashes. 
"The best secret we have come across is a rope 

142 



The Five Jack Rabbits 

of gold hanging from every star in the sky and 
when we want to go up we go up. r 

Walking on they came to a town where they 
met a man with a sorry face. "Why? 3 they 
asked him. And he answered, "My brother is 
in jail/ 

"What for? " they asked him again. And he 
answered again, "My brother put on a straw 
hat in the middle of the winter and went out 
on the streets laughing 5 my brother had his 
hair cut pompompadour and went out on the 
streets bareheaded in the summertime laughing; 
and these things were against the law. Worst 
of all he sneezed at the wrong time and he 
sneezed before the wrong persons; he sneezed 
when it was not wise to sneeze. So he will be 
hanged to-morrow morning. The gallows 
made of lumber and the rope made of hemp 
they are waiting for him to-morrow morn- 
ing. They will tie around his neck the hang- 
man's necktie and hoist him high/ 

The man with a sorry face looked more sorry 

H3 



The Dollar Watch and 

than ever. It made Young Leather feel reck- 
less and it made Red Slippers feel reckless. 
They whispered to each other. Then Young 
Leather said, "Take this dollar watch. Give 
it to your brother. Tell him when they are 
leading him to the gallows he must take 
this dollar watch in his hand, wind it up and 
push on the stem winder. The rest will be 
easy. ): 

So the next morning when they were leading 
the man to be hanged to the gallows made of 
lumber and the rope made of hemp, where they 
were going to hoist him high because he sneezed 
in the wrong place before the wrong people, he 
used his fingers winding up the watch and push- 
ing on the stem winder. There was a snapping 
and a slatching like a gas engine slipping into 
a big pair of dragon fly wings. The dollar 
watch changed into a dragon fly ship. The 
man who was going to be hanged jumped into 
the dragon fly ship and flew whonging away 
before anybody could stop him. 

144 



The Five Jack Rabbits 

Young Leather and Red Slippers were walk- 
ing out of the town laughing and singing again, 
"Deep Down Among the Dagger Dancers.' 1 
The man with a sorry face, not so sorry now any 
more, came running after them. Behind the 
man and running after him were five long- 
legged spider jack- rabbits. 

"These are for you,' : was his exclamation. 
And they all sat down on the stump of a boo- 
blow tree. He opened his sorry face and told 
the secrets of the five long-legged spider jack- 
rabbit's to Young Leather and Red Slippers. 

They waved good-by and went on up the road 
leading the five new jack-rabbits. 

In the next town they came to was a sky- 
scraper higher than all the other skyscrapers. 
A rich man dying wanted to be remembered and 
left in his last will and testament a command 
they should build a building so high it would 
scrape the thunder clouds and stand higher than 
all other skyscrapers with his name carved in 
stone letters on the top of it, and an electric sign 



The Dollar Watch and 

at night with his name on it, and a clock on the 
tower with his name on it. 

"I am hungry to be remembered and have 
my name spoken by many people after I am 

dead, );i the rich man told his friends. "I com- 
mand you, therefore, to throw the building 

high in the air because the higher it goes the 
longer I will be remembered and the longer 
the years men will mention my name after 
I am dead/ 

So there it was. Young Leather and Red 
Slippers laughed when they first saw the sky- 
scraper, when they were far off along a coun- 
try road singing their old song, "Deep Down 
Among the Dagger Dancers. >: 

"We got a show and we give a performance 
and we want the whole town to see it, ?: was 
what Young Leather and Red Slippers said to 
the mayor of the town when they called on him 
at the city hall. "We want a license and a per- 
mit to give this free show in the public square." 

"What do you do? : ' asked the mayor. 

146 



The Five Jack Rabbits 

"We jump five jack-rabbits, five long-legged 
spider jack-rabbits over the highest skyscraper 
you got in your city, 5 ' they answered him. 

"If it's free and you don't sell anything nor 
take any money away from us while it is day- 
light and you are giving your performance, 
then here is your license permit," said the mayor 
speaking in the manner of a politician who has 
studied politics. 

Thousands of people came to see the show on 
the public square. They wished to know how 
it would look to see five long-legged, spider 
jack-rabbits jump over the highest skyscraper 
in the city. 

Four of the jack-rabbits had stripes. The 
fifth had stripes and spots. Before they 
started the show Young Leather and Red Slip- 
pers held the jack- rabbits one by one in their 
arms and petted them, rubbed the feet and 
rubbed the long ears and ran their fingers along 
the long legs of the jumpers. 

"Zingo,'' 1 they yelled to the first jack-rabbit, 

H7 



The Dollar Watch and 

He got all ready. "And now zingo! 5 they 
yelled again. And the jack-rabbit took a run, 
lifted off his feet and went on and on and up 
and up till he went over the roof of the sky- 
scraper and then went down and down till 
he lit on his feet and came running on his long 
legs back to the public square where he started 
from, back where Young Leather and Red 
Slippers petted him and rubbed his long ears 
and said, "That's the boy. ?: 

Then three jack-rabbits made the jump over 
the skyscraper. "Zingo/ : they heard and got 
ready. "And now zingo/' they heard and all 
three together in a row, their long ears touch- 
ing each other, they lifted off their feet and 
went on and on and up and up till they cleared 
the roof of the skyscraper. Then they came 
down and down till they lit on their feet and 
came running to the hands of Young Leather 
and Red Slippers to have their long legs and 
their long ears rubbed and petted. 

Then came the turn of the fifth jack-rabbit, 

148 



The Five Jack Rabbits 

the beautiful one with stripes and spots. "Ah, 
we're sorry to see you go, Ah-h, we're sorry/ 3 
they said, rubbing his long ears and feeling of 
his long legs. 

Then Young Leather and Red Slippers 
kissed him on the nose, kissed the last and fifth 
of the five long-legged spider jack-rabbits. 

"Good-by, old bunny, good-by, you're the 
dandiest bunny there ever was/' they whispered 
in his long ears. And he, because he knew what 
they were saying and why they were saying 
it, he wiggled his long ears and looked long 
and steady at them from his deep eyes. 

"Zango," they yelled. He got ready. 
"And now zango!" they yelled again. And 
the fifth jack-rabbit with his stripes and spots 
lifted off his feet and went on and on and on 
and up and up and when he came to the roof 
of the skyscraper he kept on going on and on 
and up and up till after a while he was gone 
all the way out of sight. 

They waited and watched, they watched 

149 



The Dollar Watch 

and waited. He never came back. He never 
was heard of again. He was gone. With the 
stripes on his back and the spots on his hair, 
he was gone. And Young Leather and Red 
Slippers said they were glad they had kissed him 
on the nose before he went away on a long trip 
far off j so far off he never came back. 




150 




The Wooden Indian and the Shaghorn 

Buffalo 

One night a milk white moon was shining 
down on Main Street. The sidewalks and the 
stones, the walls and the windows all stood out 
milk white. And there was a thin blue mist 
drifted and shifted like a woman's veil up and 
down Main Street, up to the moon and back 
again. Yes, all Main Street was a mist blue 
and a milk white, mixed up and soft all over 
and all through. 

It was past midnight. The Wooden Indian 
in front of the cigar store stepped down off 



The Wooden Indian and 

his stand. The Shaghorn Buffalo in front of 
the haberdasher shop lifted his head and shook 
his whiskers, raised his hoofs out of his hoof- 
tracks. 

Then this is what happened. They moved 
straight toward each other. In the middle of 
Main Street they met. The Wooden Indian 
jumped straddle of the Shaghorn Buffalo. 
And the Shaghorn Buffalo put his head down 
and ran like a prairie wind straight west on 
Main Street. 

At the high hill over the big bend of the 
Clear Green River they stopped. They stood 
looking. Drifting and shifting like a woman's 
blue veil, the blue mist filled the valley and the 
milk white moon filled the valley. And the 
mist and the moon touched with a lingering, 
wistful kiss the clear green water of the Clear 
Green River. 

So they stood looking, the Wooden Indian 
with his copper face and wooden feathers, and 
the Shaghorn Buffalo with his big head and 

152 




So they stood looking 



The Shaghorn Buffalo 

heavy shoulders slumping down close to the 
ground. 

And after they had looked a long while^ and 
each of them got an eyeful of the high hill, 
the big bend and the moon mist on the river 
all blue and white and soft, after they had 
looked a long while, they turned around and 
the Shaghorn Buffalo put his head down and 
ran like a prairie wind down Main Street till 
he was exactly in front of the cigar store and 
the haberdasher shop. Then whisk! both of 
them were right back like they were before, 
standing still, taking whatever comes. 

This is the story as it came from the night 
policeman of the Village of Cream Puffs. He 
told the people the next day, "I was sitting on 
the steps of the cigar store last night watching 
for burglars. And when I saw the Wooden 
Indian step down and the Shaghorn Buffalo 
step out, and the two of them go down Main 
Street like the wind, I says to myself, marvelish, 
'tis marvelish, 'tis marvelish.* 

155 



6. Four Stories About 
Dear, Dear Eyes 



People: The White Horse Girl 
The Blue Wind Boy 
The Gray Man on Horseback 
Six Girls With Balloons 

Henry Hagglyhoagly 

Susan Slackentwist 

Two Wool Yarn Mittens 

Peter Potato Blossom Wishes 

Her Father 

Many Shoes 

Slippers 

A Slipper Moon 




The White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind 

Boy 

When the dishes are washed at night time 
and the cool of the evening has come in sum- 
mer or the lamps and fires are lit for the night 
in winter, then the fathers and mothers in the 
Rootabaga Country sometimes tell the young 
people the story of the White Horse Girl and 
the Blue Wind Boy. 

The White Horse Girl grew up far in the 
west of the Rootabaga Country. All the years 
she grew up as a girl she liked to ride horses. 
Best of all things for her was to be straddle 

159 



The White Horse Girl 

of a white horse loping with a loose bridle 
among the hills and along the rivers of the west 
Rootabaga Country. 

She rode one horse white as snow, another 
horse white as new washed sheep wool, and an- 
other white as silver. And she could not tell 
because she did not know which of these three 
white horses she liked best. 

"Snow is beautiful enough for me any time," 
she said, "new washed sheep wool, or silver 
out of a ribbon of the new moon, any or either 
is white enough for me. I like the white 
manes, the white flanks, the white noses, the 
white feet of all my ponies. I like the fore- 
locks hanging down between the white ears of 
all three my ponies." 

And living neighbor to the White Horse 
Girl in the same prairie country, with the same 
black crows flying over their places, was the 
Blue Wind Boy. All the years he grew up as 
a boy he liked to walk with his feet in the dirt 
and the grass listening to the winds. Best of 

1 60 



And the Blue Wind Boy 

all things for him was to put on strong shoes 
and go hiking among the hills and along the 
rivers of the west Rootabaga Country, listen- 
ing to the winds. 

There was a blue wind of day time, starting 
sometimes six o'clock on a summer morning or 
eight o'clock on a winter morning. And there 
was a night wind with blue of summer stars 
in summer and blue of winter stars in winter. 
And there was yet another, a blue wind of the 
times between night and day, a blue dawn and 
evening wind. All three of these winds he 
liked so well he could not say which he liked 
best. 

"The early morning wind is strong as the 
prairie and whatever I tell it I know it believes 
and remembers, 5 ' he said, "and the night wind 
with the big dark curves of the night sky in it, 
the night wind gets inside of me and under- 
stands all my secrets. And the blue wind of the 
times between, in the dusk when it is neither 
night nor day, this is the wind that asks me 

161 



The White Horse Girl 

questions and tells me to wait and it will bring 
me whatever I want/ 

Of course, it happened as it had to happen, 
the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy 
met. She, straddling one of her white horses, 
and he, wearing his strong hiking shoes in the 
dirt and the grass, it had to happen they should 
meet among the hills and along the rivers of 
the west Rootabaga Country where they lived 
neighbors. 

And of course, she told him all about the 
snow white horse and the horse white as new 
washed sheep wool and the horse white as a 
silver ribbon of the new moon. And he told 
her all about the blue winds he liked listening 
to, the early morning wind, the night sky wind, 
and the wind of the dusk between, the wind 
that asked him questions and told him to wait. 

One day the two of them were gone. On 
the same day of the week the White Horse Girl 
and the Blue Wind Boy went away. And their 
fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers 

162 



'And the Blue Wind Boy 

and uncles and aunts wondered about them and 
talked about them, because they didn't tell any- 
body beforehand they were going. Nobody at 
all knew beforehand or afterward why they 
were going away, the real honest why of it. 
They left a short letter. It read: 

To All Our Sweethearts, Old Folks and Young 

Folks: 

We have started to go where the white horses 
come from and where the blue winds begin. Keep 
a corner in your hearts for us while we are gone. 

The White Horse Girl. 
The Blue Wind* Boy. 

That was all they had to guess by in the west 
Rootabaga Country, to guess and guess where 
two darlings had gone. 

Many years passed. One day there came rid- 
ing across the Rootabaga Country a Gray Man 
on Horseback. He looked like he had come a 
long ways. So they asked him the question 
they always asked of any rider who looked like 
he had come a long ways, "Did you ever see the 

163 



The White Horse Girl 

White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy?" 

"Yes/ 5 he answered, "I saw them. 

"It was a long, long ways from here I saw 
them," he went on, "it would take years and 
years to ride to where they are. They were 
sitting together and talking to each other, some- 
times singing, in a place where the land runs 
high and tough rocks reach up. And they were 
looking out across water, blue water as far as 
the eye could see. And away far off the blue 
waters met the blue sky. 

"'Look!' said the Boy, 'that's where the 
blue winds begin.' 

"And far out on the blue waters, just a little 
this side of where the blue winds begin, there 
were white manes, white flanks, white noses, 
white galloping feet. 

"'Look!' said the Girl, 'that's where the 
white horses come from.' 

"And then nearer to the land came thousands 
in an hour, millions in a day, white horses, some 
white as snow, some like new washed sheep 

164 



And the Blue Wind Boy 

wool, some white as silver ribbons of the new 
moon. 

"I asked them, c Whose place is this? 3 They 
answered, 'It belongs to us; this is what we 
started for; this is where the white horses come 
from; this is where the blue winds begin. ' 

And that was all the Gray Man on Horse- 
back would tell the people of the west Roota- 
baga Country. That was all he knew, he said, 
and if there was any more he would tell it. 

And the fathers and mothers and sisters and 
brothers and uncles and aunts of the White 
Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy wondered 
and talked often about whether the Gray Man 
on Horseback made up the story out of his head 
or whether it happened just like he told it. 

Anyhow this is the story they tell sometimes 
to the young people of the west Rootabaga 
Country when the dishes are washed at night 
and the cool of the evening has come in summer 
or the lamps and fires are lit for the night in 
winter. 




What Six Girls with Balloons Told the 
Gray Man on Horseback 

Once there came riding across the Roota- 
baga Country a Gray Man on Horseback. He 
looked as if he had come a long ways. He 
looked like a brother to the same Gray Man on 
Horseback who said he had seen the White 
Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy. 

He stopped in the Village of Cream Puffs. 
His gray face was sad and his eyes were gray 
deep and sad. He spoke short and seemed 
strong. Sometimes his eyes looked as if they 
were going to flash, but instead of fire they 

filled with shadows. 

167 



What Six Girls with Balloons 

Yet he did laugh once. It did happen once 
he lifted his head and face to the sky and let 
loose a long ripple of laughs. 

On Main Street near the Roundhouse of the 
Big Spool, where they wind up the string that 
pulls the light little town back when the wind 
blows it away, there he was riding slow on his 
gray horse when he met six girls with six fine 
braids of yellow hair and six balloons apiece. 
That is, each and every one of the six girls had 
six fine long braids of yellow hair and each 
braid of hair had a balloon tied on the end. A 
little blue wind was blowing and the many 
balloons tied to the braids of the six girls swung 
up and down and slow and fast whenever the 
blue wind went up and down and slow and fast. 

For the first time since he had been in the 
Village, the eyes of the Gray Man filled with 
lights and his face began to look hopeful. He 
stopped his horse when he came even with the 
six girls and the balloons floating from the 
braids of yellow hair. 

1 68 



Told the Gray Man on Horseback 

"Where you going?" he asked. 

"Who hoo-hoo? Who who who? "the 
six girls cheeped out. 

"All six of you and your balloons, where you 
going?" 

"Oh, hoo-hoo-hoo, back where we came 
from," and they all turned their heads back and 
forth and sideways, which of course turned all 
the balloons back and forth and sideways be- 
cause the balloons were fastened to the fine 
braids of hair which were fastened to their 
heads. 

"And where do you go when you get back 
where you came from?' he asked just to be 
asking. 

"Oh, hoo-hoo-hoo, then we start out and go 
straight ahead and see what we can see, 5 ' they 
all answered just to be answering and they 
dipped their heads and swung them up which 
of course dipped all the balloons and swung 
them up. 

So they talked, he asking just to be asking 

169 



What Six Girls with Balloons 

and the six balloon girls answering just to be 
answering. 

At last his sad mouth broke into a smile and 
his eyes were lit like a morning sun coming 
up over harvest fields. And he said to them, 
"Tell me why are balloons that is what I want 
you to tell me why are balloons? 3 

The first little girl put her thumb under 
her chin, looked up at her six balloons floating 
in the little blue wind over her head, and said: 
"Balloons are wishes. The wind made them. 
The west wind makes the red balloons. The 
south wind makes the blue. The yellow and 
green balloons come from the east wind and the 
north wind. 5 

The second little girl put her first finger next 
to her nose, looked up at her six balloons dip- 
ping up and down like hill flowers in a small 
wind, and said: 

"A balloon used to be a flower. It got tired. 
Then it changed itself to a balloon. I listened 
one time to a yellow balloon. It was talking 

170 



Told the Gray Man on Horseback 

to itself like people talk. It said, 'I used to be 
a yellow pumpkin flower stuck down close to the 
ground, now I am a yellow balloon high up in 
the air where nobody can walk on me and I can 
see everything.' 

The third little girl held both of her ears like 
she was afraid they would wiggle while she 
slid with a skip, turned quick, and looking up at 
her balloons, spoke these words: 

"A balloon is foam. It comes the same as 
soap bubbles come. A long time ago it used 
to be sliding along on water, river water, ocean 
water, waterfall water, falling and falling 
over a rocky waterfall, any water you want. 
The wind saw the bubble and picked it up and 
carried it away, telling it, c Now you're a bal- 
loon come along and see the world.' 

The fourth little girl jumped straight into 
the air so all six of her balloons made a jump 
like they were going to get loose and go to the 
sky and when the little girl came down from 
her jump and was standing on her two feet 

171 



What Six Girls <&ith Balloons 

with her head turned looking up at the six bal- 
loons, she spoke the shortest answer of all, say- 
ing: 

"Balloons are to make us look up. They help 
our necks/ 

The fifth little girl stood first on one foot, 
then another, bent her head down to her knees 
and looked at her toes, then swinging straight 
up and looking at the flying spotted yellow and 
red and green balloons, she said: 

"Balloons come from orchards. Look for 
trees where half is oranges and half is orange 
balloons. Look for apple trees where half is 
red pippins and half is red pippin balloons. 
Look for watermelons too. A long green bal- 
loon with white and yellow belly stripes is a 
ghost. It came from a watermelon said good- 
by." 

The sixth girl, the last one, kicked the heel 
of her left foot with the toe of her right foot, 
put her thumbs under her ears and wiggled all 
her fingers, then stopped all her kicking and 

172 



Told the Gray Man on Horseback 

wiggling, and stood looking up at her balloons 
all quiet because the wind had gone down and 
she murmured like she was thinking to herself: 

"Balloons come from fire chasers. Every 
balloon has a fire chaser chasing it. All the 
fire chasers are made terrible quick and when 
they come they burn quick, so the balloon is 
made light so it can run away terrible quick. 
Balloons slip away from fire. If they don't 
they can't be balloons. Running away from 
fire keeps them light. ): 

All the time he listened to the six girls the 
face of the Gray Man kept getting more hope- 
ful. His eyes lit up. Twice he smiled. And 
after he said good-by and rode up the street, 
he lifted his head and face to the sky and let 
loose a long ripple of laughs. 

He kept looking back when he left the Vil- 
lage and the last thing he saw was the six girls 
each with six balloons fastened to the six braids 
of yellow hair hanging down their backs. 

The sixth little girl kicked the heel of her 

173 



Six Girls with Balloons 

left foot with the toe of her right foot and 
said, "He is a nice man. I think he must be 
our uncle. If he comes again we shall all ask 
him to tell us where he thinks balloons come 
from." 

And the other five girls all answered, "Yes,'' 
or "Yes, yes, ): or "Yes, yes, yes,' : real fast like 
a balloon with a fire chaser after it. 



17? 




How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played the 
Guitar with His Mittens On 

Sometimes in January the sky comes down 
close if we walk on a country road, and turn 
our faces up to look at the sky. 

Sometimes on that kind of a January night 
the stars look like numbers, look like the arith- 
metic writing of a girl going to school and just 
beginning arithmetic. 

It was this kind of a night Henry Haggly- 
hoagly was walking down a country road on 
his way to the home of Susan Slackentwist, the 

175 



How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played 

daughter of the rutabaga king near the Vil- 
lage of Liver-and-Onions. When Henry 
Hagglyhoagly turned his face up to look at the 
sky it seemed to him as though the sky came 
down close to his nose, and there was a writing 
in stars as though some girl had been doing 
arithmetic examples, writing number 4 and 
number 7 and 4 and 7 over and over again 
across the sky. 

"Why is it so bitter cold weather ?" Henry 
Hagglyhoagly asked himself, "if I say many 
bitter bitters it is not so bitter as the cold wind 
and the cold weather." 

"You are good, mittens, keeping my fingers 
warm/ 5 he said every once in a while to the wool 
yarn mittens on his hands. 

The wind came tearing along and put its 
chilly, icy, clammy clamps on the nose of Henry 
Hagglyhoagly, fastening the clamps like a nip- 
ping, gripping clothes pin on his nose. He put 
his wool yarn mittens up on his nose and rubbed 
till the wind took off the chilly, icy, clammy 

176 




It seemed to him as though the sky came down close 

to his nose 



The Guitar with His Mittens On 

clamps. His nose was warm again ; he said, 
"Thank you, mittens, for keeping my nose 



warm." 



He spoke to his wool yarn mittens as though 
they were two kittens or pups, or two little cub 
bears, or two little Idaho ponies. "You're my 
chums keeping me company/' he said to the 
mittens. 

a Do you know what we got here under our 
left elbow?" he said to the mittens, "I shall 
mention to you what is here under my left 
elbow. 

"It ain't a mandolin, it ain't a mouth organ 
nor an accordion nor a concertina nor a fiddle. 
It is a guitar, a Spanish Spinnish Splishy guitar 
made special. 

"Yes, mittens, they said a strong young man 
like me ought to have a piano because a piano 
is handy to play for everybody in the house and 
a piano is handy to put a hat and overcoat on or 
books or flowers. 

"I snizzled at J em, mittens. I told 'em I 

179 



How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played 

seen a Spanish Spinnish Splishy guitar made 
special in a hardware store window for eight 
dollars and a half. 

"And so, mittens are you listening, mit- 
tens? after cornhusking was all husked and 
the oats thrashing all thrashed and the rutabaga 
digging all dug, I took eight dollars and a half 
in my inside vest pocket and I went to the hard- 
ware store. 

"I put my thumbs in my vest pocket and I 
wiggled my fingers like a man when he is proud 
of what he is going to have if he gets it. And 
I said to the head clerk in the hardware store, 
'Sir, the article I desire to purchase this evening 
as one of your high class customers, the article 
I desire to have after I buy it for myself, is the 
article there in the window, sir, the Spanish 
Spinnish Splishy guitar.' 

"And, mittens, if you are listening, I am tak- 
ing this Spanish Spinnish Splishy guitar to go 
to the home of Susan Slackentwist, the daugh- 
ter of the rutabaga king near the Village of 

1 80 



The Guitar with His Mittens On 

Liver-and-Onions, to sing a serenade song." 

The cold wind of the bitter cold weather 
blew and blew, trying to blow the guitar out 
from under the left elbow of Henry Haggly- 
hoagly. And the worse the wind blew the 
tighter he held his elbow holding the guitar 
where he wanted it. 

He walked on and on with his long legs 
stepping long steps till at last he stopped, held 
his nose in the air, and sniffed. 

"Do I sniff something or do I not? : ' he asked, 
lifting his wool yarn mittens to his nose and 
rubbing his nose till it was warm. Again he 
sniffed. 

"Ah hah, yeah, yeah, this is the big rutabaga 
field near the home of the rutabaga king and 
the home of his daughter, Susan Slackentwist. 5: 

At last he came to the house, stood under the 
window and slung the guitar around in front of 
him to play the music to go with the song. 

"And now," he asked his mittens, "shall I 
take you off or keep you on? If I take you off 

181 



How Henry Hagglyhoagly Played 

the cold wind of the bitter cold weather will 
freeze my hands so stiff and bitter cold my 
fingers will be too stiff to play the guitar. / 
<will play 'with mittens on" 

Which he did. He stood under the window 
of Susan Slackentwist and played the guitar 
with his mittens on, the warm wool yarn mit- 
tens he called his chums. It was the first time 
any strong young man going to see his sweet- 
heart ever played the guitar with his mittens 
on when it was a bitter night with a cold wind 
and cold weather. 

Susan Slackentwist opened her window and 
threw him a snow-bird feather to keep for a 
keepsake to remember her by. And for years 
afterward many a sweetheart in the Rootabaga 
Country told her lover, "If you wish to marry 
me let me hear you under my window on a 
winter night playing the guitar with wool yarn 
mittens on. ?; 

And when Henry Hagglyhoagly walked 
home on his long legs stepping long steps, he 

182 



The Guitar with His Mittens On 

said to his mittens, "This Spanish Spinnish 
Splishy guitar made special will bring us luck." 
And when he turned his face up> the sky came 
down close and he could see stars fixed like 
numbers and the arithmetic writing of a girl 
going to school learning to write number 4 and 
number 7 and 4 and 7 over and over. 




183 




Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon 

When a girl is growing up in the Rootabaga 
Country she learns some things to do, some 
things not to do. 

"Never kick a slipper at the moon if it is 
the time for the Dancing Slipper Moon when 
the slim early moon looks like the toe and the 
heel of a dancer's foot, ): was the advice Mr. 
Wishes, the father of Peter Potato Blossom 
Wishes, gave to his daughter. 

"Why?" she asked him. 

"Because your slipper will go straight up, on 
and on to the moon, and fasten itself on the 
moon as if the moon is a foot ready for danc- 
ing, 53 said Mr. Wishes. 



Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon 

"A long time ago there was one night when 
a secret word was passed around to all the shoes 
standing in the bedrooms and closets. 

"The whisper of the secret was: ( To-night 
all the shoes and the slippers and the boots of 
the world are going walking without any feet 
in them. To-night when those who put us on 
their feet in the daytime, are sleeping in their 
beds, we all get up and walk and go walking 
where we walk in the daytime.' 

"And in the middle of the night, when the 
people in the beds were sleeping, the shoes and 
the slippers and the boots everywhere walked 
out of the bedrooms and the closets. Along the 
sidewalks on the streets, up and down stairways, 
along hallways, the shoes and slippers and the 
boots tramped and marched and stumbled. 

"Some walked pussyfoot, sliding easy and 
soft just like people in the daytime. Some 
walked clumping and clumping, coming down 
heavy on the heels and slow on the toes, just 
like people in the daytime. 

1 86 



Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon 

"Some turned their toes in and walked 
pigeon-toe, some spread their toes out and held 
their heels in, just like people in the daytime. 
Some ran glad and fast, some lagged slow and 
sorry. 

"Now there was a little girl in the Village 
of Cream Puffs who came home from a dance 
that night. And she was tired from dancing 
round dances and square dances, one steps and 
two steps, toe dances and toe and heel dances, 
dances close up and dances far apart, she was 
so tired she took off only one slipper, tumbled 
onto her bed and went to sleep with one slipper 
on. 

"She woke up in the morning when it was 
yet dark. And she went to the window and 
looked up in the sky and saw a Dancing Slipper 
Moon dancing far and high in the deep blue sea 
of the moon sky. 

" ( Oh what a moon what a dancing slip- 
per of a moon! 5 she cried with a little song to 
herself. 



Never Kick a Slipper at the Moon 

"She opened the window, saying again, c Oh! 
what a moon!' and kicked her foot with the 
slipper on it straight toward the moon. 

"The slipper flew off and flew up and went 
on and on and up and up in the moonshine. 

"It never came back, that slipper. It was 
never seen again. When they asked the girl 
about it she said, c lt slipped off my foot and 
went up and up and the last I saw of it the slip- 
per was going on straight to the moon.' 

And these are the explanations why fathers 
and mothers in the Rootabaga Country say to 
their girls growing up, "Never kick a slipper 
at the moon if it is the time of the Dancing 
Slipper Moon when the ends of the moon look 
like the toe and the heel of a dancer's foot." 



7. One Story "Only the 
Fire-Born Understand Blue" 

People: Fire the Goat 

Film the Goose 
Shadows 




Sand Flat Shadows 

Fire the Goat and Film the Goose slept out. 
Stub pines stood over them. And away up next 
over the stub pines were stars. 

It was a white sand flat they slept on. The 
floor of the sand flat ran straight to the Big 
Lake of the Booming Rollers. 

And just over the sand flat and just over the 
booming rollers was a high room where the 
mist people were making pictures. Gray pic- 
tures, blue and sometimes a little gold, and often 
silver, were the pictures. 

And next just over the high room where the 
mist people were making pictures, next just 

over were the stars. 

191 



Sand Flat Shadows 

Over everything and always last and highest 
of all, were the stars. 

Fire the Goat took off his horns. Flim the 
Goose took off his wings. "This is where we 
sleep, >: they said to each other, "here in the 
stub pines on the sand flats next to the booming 
rollers and high over everything and always 
last and highest of all, the stars. ?: 

Fire the Goat laid his horns under his head. 
Flim the Goose laid his wings under his head. 
"This is the best place for what you want to 
keep/ 5 they said to each other. Then they 
crossed their fingers for luck and lay down and 
went to sleep and slept. And while they slept 
the mist people went on making pictures. 
Gray pictures, blue and sometimes a little gold 
but more often silver, such were the pictures 
the mist people went on making while Fire the 
Goat and Flim the Goose went on sleeping. 
And over everything and always last and high- 
est of all, were the stars. 

They woke up. Fire the Goat took his horns 

192 



Sand Flat Shadows 

out and put them on. "It's morning now/' he 
said. 

Flim the Goose took his wings out and put 
them on. "It's another day now," he said. 

Then they sat looking. Away off where the 
sun was coming up, inching and pushing up far 
across the rim curve of the Big Lake of the 
Booming Rollers, along the whole line of the 
east sky, there were people and animals, all 
black or all so gray they were near black. 

There was a big horse with his mouth open, 
ears laid back, front legs thrown in two curves 
like harvest sickles. 

There was a camel with two humps, moving 
slow and grand like he had all the time of all 
the years of all the world to go in. 

There was an elephant without any head, 
with six short legs. There were many cows. 
There was a man with a club over his shoulder 
and a woman with a bundle on the back of her 
neck. 

And they marched on. They were going 

193 



Sand Flat Shadows 

nowhere, it seemed. And they were going slow. 
They had plenty of time. There was nothing 
else to do. It was fixed for them to do it, long 
ago it was fixed. And so they were marching. 

Sometimes the big horse's head sagged and 
dropped off and came back again. Sometimes 
the humps of the camel sagged and dropped 
off and came back again. And sometimes the 
club on the man's shoulder got bigger and heav- 
ier and the man staggered under it and then 
his legs got bigger and stronger and he steadied 
himself and went on. And again sometimes 
the bundle on the back of the neck of the 
woman got bigger and heavier and the bundle 
sagged and the woman staggered and her legs 
got bigger and stronger and she steadied her- 
self and went on. 

This was the show, the hippodrome, the 
spectacular circus that passed on the east sky 
before the eyes of Fire the Goat and Flim the 
Goose. 

"Which is this, who are they and why do 

194 




Away off where the sun was coming up, there were 

people and animals 



Sand Flat Shadows 

they come?" Flim the Goose asked Fire the 
Goat. 

"Do you ask me because you wish me to tell 
you? 3> asked Fire the Goat. 

"Indeed it is a question to which I want an 
honest answer.* 

"Has never the father or mother nor the 
uncle or aunt nor the kith and kin of Flim the 
Goose told him the what and the which of 
this?" 

"Never has the such of this which been put 
here this way to me by anybody.* 

Flim the Goose held up his fingers and said, 
"I don't talk to you with my fingers crossed." 

And so Fire the Goat began to explain to 
Flim the Goose all about the show, the hip- 
podrome, the mastodonic cyclopean spectacle 
which was passing on the east sky in front of 
the sun coming up. 

"People say they are shadows," began Fire 
the Goat. "That is a name, a word, a little 
cough and a couple of syllables. 

197 



Sand Flat Shadows 

"For some people shadows are comic and 
only to laugh at. For some other people shad- 
ows are like a mouth and its breath. The 
breath comes out and it is nothing. It is like 
air and nobody can make it into a package and 
carry it away. It will not melt like gold nor 
can you shovel it like cinders. So to these 
people it means nothing. 

"And then there are other people," Fire the 
Goat went on. "There are other people who 
understand shadows. The fire-born under- 
stand. The fire-born know where shadows 
come from and why they are. 

"Long ago, when the Makers of the World 
were done making the round earth, the time 
came when they were ready to make the ani- 
mals to put on the earth. They were not sure 
how to make the animals. They did not know 
what shape animals they wanted. 

"And so they practised. They did not make 
real animals at first. They made only shapes 
of animals. And these shapes were shadows, 

198 



Sand Flat Shadows 

shadows like these you and I, Fire the Goat 
and Flim the Goose, are looking at this morn- 
ing across the booming rollers on the east sky 
where the sun is coming up. 

"The shadow horse over there on the east 
sky with his mouth open, his ears laid back, 
and his front legs thrown in a curve like harvest 
sickles, that shadow horse was one they made 
long ago when they were practising to make a 
real horse. That shadow horse was a mistake 
and they threw him away. Never will you 
see two shadow horses alike. All shadow horses 
on the sky are different. Each one is a mistake, 
a shadow horse thrown away because he was 
not good enough to be a real horse. 

"That elephant with no head on his neck, 
stumbling so grand on six legs and that grand 
camel with two humps, one bigger than the 
other and those cows with horns in front and 
behind they are all mistakes, they were all 
thrown away because they were not made good 
enough to be real elephants, real cows, real 

199 



Sand Flat Shadows 

carrels. They were made jmst for practice, 
away back early in the world before any real 
animals came on their legs to eat and live and 
be here like the rest of us. 

"That man see him now staggering along 
with the club over his shoulder see how his 
long arms come to his knees and sometimes his 
hands drag below his feet. See how heavy the 
club on his shoulders loads him down and 
drags him on. He is one of the oldest shadow 
men. He was a mistake and they threw him 
away. He was made just for practice. 

"And that woman. See her now at the end 
of that procession across the booming rollers 
on the east sky. See her the last of all, the end 
of the procession. On the back of her neck a 
bundle. Sometimes the bundle gets bigger. 
The woman staggers. Her legs get bigger and 
stronger. She picks herself up and goes along 
shaking her head. She is the same as the others. 
She is a shadow and she was made as a mistake. 

200 



Sand Flat Shadows 

Early, early in the beginnings of the world 
she was made, for practice. 

"Listen, Flim the Goose. What I am tell- 
ing you is a secret of the fire-born. I do not 
know whether you understand. We have slept 
together a night on the sand flats next to the 
booming rollers, under the stub pines with the 
stars high over and so I tell what the fathers 
of the fire-born tell their sons.' ; 

And that day Fire the Goat and Flim the 
Goose moved along the sand flat shore of the 
Big Lake of the Booming Rollers. It was a 
blue day, with a fire-blue of the sun mixing 
itself in the air and the water. Off to the 
north the booming rollers were blue sea-green. 
To the east they were sometimes streak purple, 
sometimes changing bluebell stripes. And to 
the south they were silver blue, sheet blue. 

Where the shadow hippodrome marched on 
the east sky that morning was a long line of 

blue-bird spots. 

201 



Sand Flat Shadows 

"Only the fire-born understand blue/ : said 
Fire the Goat to Flim the Goose. And that 
night as the night before they slept on a sand 
flat. And again Fire the Goat took off his 
horns and laid them under his head while he 
slept and Flim the Goose took off his wings 
and laid them under his head while he slept. 

And twice in the night. Fire the Goat whis- 
pered in his sleep, whispered to the stars, "Only 
the fire-born understand blue." 



202 



8. Two Stories About Corn Fairies, 
Blue Foxes, Flongboos and Hap- 
penings That Happened in the 
United States and Canada 

People: Spink 

Skabootch 
A Man 
Corn Fairies 

Blue Foxes 
Flongboos 

A Philadelphia Policeman 
Passenger Conductor 
Chicago Newspapers 
The Head Spotter of the 
Weather Makers at Medi- 
cine Hat 



203 




How to Tell Corn Fairies If You See 'Em 

If you have ever watched the little corn 
begin to march across the black lands and then 
slowly change to big corn and go marching on 
from the little corn moon of summer to the big 
corn harvest moon of autumn, then you must 
have guessed who it is that helps the corn come 
along. It is the corn fairies. Leave out the 
corn fairies and there wouldn't be any corn. 

All children know this. All boys and girls 
know that corn is no good unless there are 
corn fairies. 

Have you ever stood in Illinois or Iowa and 

205 



How to Tell Corn Fairies 

watched the late summer wind or the early fall 
wind running across a big cornfield? It looks 
as if a big, long blanket were being spread out 
for dancers to come and dance on. If you look 
close and if you listen close you can see the corn 
fairies come dancing and singing sometimes. 
If it is a wild day and a hot sun is pouring down 
while a cool north wind blows and this hap- 
pens sometimes then you will be sure to see 
thousands of corn fairies marching and coun- 
termarching in mocking grand marches over 
the big, long blanket of green and silver. Then 
too they sing, only you must listen with your 
littlest and newest ears if you wish to hear their 
singing. They sing soft songs that go pla-sizzy 
pla-sizzy-sizzy, and each song is softer than an 
eye wink, softer than a Nebraska baby's thumb. 
And Spink, who is a little girl living in the 
same house with the man writing this story, and 
Skabootch, who is another little girl in the same 
house both Spink and Skabootch are asking 
the question, "How can we tell corn fairies if 

206 



// You See 'Em 

we see 'em? If we meet a corn fairy how will 
we know it? " And this is the explanation the 
man gave to Spink who is older than Skabootch, 
and to Skabootch who is younger than Spink: 

All corn fairies wear overalls. They work 
hard, the corn fairies, and they are proud. The 
reason they are proud is because they work so 
hard. And the reason they work so hard is be- 
cause they have overalls. 

But understand this. The overalls are corn 

gold cloth, woven from leaves of ripe corn 
mixed with ripe October corn silk. In the first 
week of the harvest moon coming up red and 
changing to yellow and silver the corn fairies 
sit by thousands between the corn rows weaving 
and stitching the clothes they have to wear 
next winter, next spring, next summer. 

They sit cross-legged when they sew. And it 
is a law among them each one must point the 
big toe at the moon while sewing the harvest 
moon clothes. When the moon comes up red 
as blood early in the evening they point their 

207 



How to Tell Corn Fairies 

big toes slanting toward the east. Then to- 
wards midnight when the moon is yellow and 
half way up the sky their big toes are only half 
slanted as they sit cross-legged sewing. And 
after midnight when the moon sails its silver 
disk high overhead and toward the west, then 
the corn fairies sit sewing with their big toes 
pointed nearly straight up. 

If it is a cool night and looks like frost, then 
the laughter of the corn fairies is something 
worth seeing. All the time they sit sewing their 
next year clothes they are laughing. It is not 
a law they have to laugh. They laugh because 
they are half-tickled and glad because it is a 
good corn year. 

And whenever the corn fairies laugh then 
the laugh comes out of the mouth like a thin 
gold frost. If you should be lucky enough to 
see a thousand corn fairies sitting between the 
corn rows and all of them laughing, you would 
laugh with wonder yourself to see the gold frost 
coming from their mouths while they laughed. 

208 



// You See 'Em 

Travelers who have traveled far, and seen 
many things, say that if you know the corn 
fairies with a real knowledge you can always 
tell by the stitches in their clothes what state 
they are from. 

In Illinois the corn fairies stitch fifteen 
stitches of ripe corn silk across the woven corn 
leaf cloth. In Iowa they stitch sixteen stitches, 
in Nebraska seventeen, and the farther west 
you go the more corn silk stitches the corn 
fairies have in the corn cloth clothes they wear. 

In Minnesota one year there were fairies 
with a blue sash of corn-flowers across the 
breast. In the Dakotas the same year all the 
fairies wore pumpkin-flower neckties, yellow 
four-in-hands and yellow ascots. And in one 
strange year it happened in both the states of 
Ohio and Texas the corn fairies wore little 
wristlets of white morning glories. 

The traveler who heard about this asked 
many questions and found out the reason why 
that year the corn fairies wore little wristlets 

209 



How to Tell Corn Fairies 

of white morning glories. He said, "When- 
ever fairies are sad they wear white. And this 
year, which was long ago, was the year men 
were tearing down all the old zigzag rail fences. 
Now those old zigzag rail fences were beauti- 
ful for the fairies because a hundred fairies 
could sit on one rail and thousands and thou- 
sands of them could sit on the zigzags and sing 
pla-sizzy pla-sizzy, softer than an eye-wink, 
softer than a baby's thumb, all on a moonlight 
summer night. And they found out that year 
was going to be the last year of the zigzag rail 
fences. It made them sorry and sad, and when 
they are sorry and sad they wear white. So they 
picked the wonderful white morning glories 
running along the zigzag rail fences and made 
them into little wristlets and wore those wrist- 
lets the next year to show they were sorry and 
sad." 

Of course, all this helps you to know how 
the corn fairies look in the evening, the night 

2IO 



// You See 'Em 

time and the moonlight. Now we shall see 
how they look in the day time. 

In the day time the corn fairies have their 
overalls of corn gold cloth on. And they walk 
among the corn rows and climb the corn stalks 
and fix things in the leaves and stalks and ears 
of the corn. They help it to grow. 

Each one carries on the left shoulder a mouse 
brush to brush away the field mice. And over 
the right shoulder each one has a cricket broom 
to sweep away the crickets. The brush is a 
whisk brush to brush away mice that get foolish. 
And the broom is to sweep away crickets that 
get foolish. 

Around the middle of each corn fairy is a yel- 
low-belly belt. And stuck in this belt is a pur- 
ple moon shaft hammer. Whenever the wind 
blows strong and nearly blows the corn down, 
then the fairies run out and take their purple 
moon shaft hammers out of their yellow-belly 
belts and nail down nails to keep the corn from 

211 



How to Tell Corn Fairies 

blowing down. When a rain storm is blowing 
up terrible and driving all kinds of terribles 
across the cornfield, then you can be sure of one 
thing. Running like the wind among the corn 
rows are the fairies, jerking their purple moon 
shaft hammers out of their belts and nailing 
nails down to keep the corn standing up so it 
will grow and be ripe and beautiful when the 
harvest moon comes again in the fall. 

Spink and Skabootch ask where the corn 
fairies get the nails. The answer to Spink and 
Skabootch is, "Next week you will learn all 
about where the corn fairies get the nails to 
nail down the corn if you will keep your faces 
washed and your ears washed till next week. 5 

And the next time you stand watching a big 
cornfield in late summer or early fall, when 
the wind is running across the green and silver, 
listen with your littlest and newest ears. May- 
be you will hear the corn fairies going pla-sizzy 
pla-sizzy-sizzy, softer than an eye wink, softer 
than a Nebraska baby's thumb. 

212 




How the Animals Lost Their Tails and 

Got Them Back Traveling From 

Philadelphia to Medicine Hat 

Far up in North America, near the Saskatch- 
ewan river, in the Winnipeg wheat country, 
not so far from the town of Moose Jaw named 
for the jaw of a moose shot by a hunter there, 
up where the blizzards and the chinooks begin, 
where nobody works unless they have to and 
they nearly all have to, there stands the place 
known as Medicine Hat. 

And there on a high stool in a high tower 

213 



How the Animals Lost Their 

on a high hill sits the Head Spotter of the 
Weather Makers. 

When the animals lost their tails it was be- 
cause the Head Spotter of the Weather Makers 
at Medicine Hat was careless. 

The tails of the animals were stiff and dry 
because for a long while there was dusty dry 
weather. Then at last came rain. And the 
water from the sky poured on the tails of the 
animals and softened them. 

Then the chilly chills came whistling with 
icy mittens and they froze all the tails stiff. A 
big wind blew up and blew and blew till all 
the tails of the animals blew off. 

It was easy for the fat stub hogs with their 
fat stub tails. But it was not so easy for the 
blue fox who uses his tail to help him when he 
runs, when he eats, when he walks or talks, 
when he makes pictures or writes letters in the 
snow or when he puts a snack of bacon 
meat with stripes of fat and lean to hide till 
he wants it under a big rock by a river. 

214 




There on a high stool in a high tower, on a high hill 
sits the Head Spotter of the Weather Makers 



Tails and Got Them Back 

It was easy enough for the rabbit who has 
long ears and no tail at all except a white thumb 
of cotton. But it was hard for the yellow flong- 
boo who at night lights up his house in a hollow 
tree with his fire yellow torch of a tail. It is 
hard for the yellow flongboo to lose his tail 
because it lights up his way when he sneaks 
at night on the prairie, sneaking up on the 

flangwayers, the hippers and hangjasts, so good 
to eat. 

The animals picked a committee of repre- 
sentatives to represent them in a parleyhoo to 
see what steps could be taken by talking to do 
something. There were sixty-six representa- 
tives on the committee and they decided to call 
it the Committee of Sixty Six. It was a dis- 
tinguished committee and when they all sat to- 
gether holding their mouths under their noses 
(just like a distinguished committee) and 
blinking their eyes up over their noses and 
cleaning their ears and scratching themselves 
under the chin looking thoughtful (just like a 

217 



How the Animals Lost Their 

distinguished committee) then anybody would 
say just to look at them, "This must be quite 
a distinguished committee. 51 

Of course, they would all have looked more 
distinguished if they had had their tails on. 
If the big wavy streak of a blue tail blows off 
behind a blue fox, he doesn't look near so dis- 
tinguished. Or, if the long yellow torch of a 
tail blows off behind a yellow flongboo, he 
doesn't look so distinguished as he did before the 
wind blew. 

So the Committee of Sixty Six had a meeting 
and a parleyhoo to decide what steps could be 
taken by talking to do something. For chair- 
man they picked an old flongboo who was an 
umpire and used to umpire many mix-ups. 
Among the flongboos he was called "the umpire 
of umpires," "the king of umpires, 53 "the 
prince of umpires, 55 "the peer of umpires. 51 
When there was a fight and a snag and a 
wrangle between two families living next door 
neighbors to each other and this old flongboo 

218 



Tails and Got Them Back 

was called in to umpire and to say which family 
was right and which family was wrong, which 
family started it and which family ought to 
stop it, he used to say, "The best umpire is the 
one who knows just how far to go and how far 
not to go/ He was from Massachusetts, born 
near Chappaquiddick, this old flongboo, and he 
lived there in a horse chestnut tree six feet thick 
half way between South Hadley and North- 
ampton. And at night, before he lost his tail, 
he lighted up the big hollow cave inside the 
horse chestnut tree with his yellow torch of a 
tail. 

After he was nominated with speeches and 
elected with votes to be the chairman, he stood 
up on the platform and took a gavel and banged 
with the gavel and made the Committee of 
Sixty Six come to order. 

"It is no picnic to lose your tail and we are 
here for business," he said, banging his gavel 
again. 

A blue fox from Waco, Texas, with his ears 

219 



How the Animals Lost Their 

full of dry bluebonnet leaves from a hole 
where he lived near the Brazos river, stood up 
and said, "Mr. Chairman, do I have the floor? " 

"You have whatever you get away with I 
get your number," said the chairman. 

"I make a motion," said the blue fox from 
Waco, "and I move you, Sir, that this com- 
mittee get on a train at Philadelphia and ride 
on the train till it stops and then take another 
train and take more trains and keep on riding 
till we get to Medicine Hat, near the Saskatche- 
wan river, in the Winnipeg wheat country 
where the Head Spotter of the Weather Makers 
sits on a high stool in a high tower on a high 
hill spotting the weather. There we will ask 
him if he will respectfully let us beseech him 
to bring back weather that will bring back our 
tails. It was the weather took away our tails 5 
it is the weather can bring back our tails. >: 

"All in favor of the motion," said the chair- 
man, "will clean their right ears with their 
right paws. ); 

220 



Tails and Got Them Back 

And all the blue foxes and all the yellow 
flongboos began cleaning their right ears with 
their right paws. 

"All who are against the motion will clean 
their left ears with their left paws/ : said the 
chairman. 

And all the blue foxes and all the yellow 
flongboos began cleaning their left ears with 
their left paws. 

"The motion is carried both ways it is a 
razmataz/ : said the chairman. "Once again, 
all in favor of the motion will stand up on the 
toes of their hind legs and stick their noses 
straight up in the air. ): And all the blue foxes 
and all the yellow flongboos stood up on the toes 
of their hind legs and stuck their noses straight 
up in the air. 

"And now, 5: said the chairman, "all who 
are against the motion will stand on the top and 
the apex of their heads, stick their hind legs 
straight up in the air, and make a noise like a 
woof woof." 

221' 



How the Animals Lost Their 

And then not one of the blue foxes and not 
one of the yellow flongboos stood on the top and 
the apex of his head nor stuck his hind legs up 
in the air nor made a noise like a woof woof, 

"The motion is carried and this is no picnic/' 
said the chairman. 

So the committee went to Philadelphia to get 
on a train to ride on. 

"Would you be so kind as to tell us the way 
to the union depot/ : the chairman asked a po- 
liceman. It was the first time a flongboo ever 
spoke to a policeman on the streets of Phila- 
delphia. 

"It pays to be polite/' said the policeman. 

"May I ask you again if you would kindly 
direct us to the union depot? We wish to ride 
on a train/ :> said the flongboo. 

"Polite persons and angry persons are dif- 
ferent kinds," said the policeman. 

The flongboo's eyes changed their lights and 
a slow torch of fire sprang out behind where 
his tail used to be. And speaking to the police- 

222 



Tails and Got Them Back 

man, he said, "Sir, I must inform you, publicly 
and respectfully, that we are The Committee 
of Sixty Six. We are honorable and distin- 
guished representatives from places your honest 
and ignorant geography never told you about. 
This committee is going to ride on the cars to 
Medicine Hat near the Saskatchewan river in 
the Winnipeg wheat country where the bliz- 
zards and chinooks begin. We have a special 
message and a secret errand for the Head Spot- 
ter of the Weather Makers." 

"I am a polite friend of all respectable people 
that is why I wear this star to arrest people 
who are not respectable, 5 ' said the policeman, 
touching with his pointing finger the silver and 
nickel star fastened with a safety pin on his 
blue uniform coat. 

"This is the first time ever in the history of 
the United States that a committee of sixty- 
six blue foxes and flongboos has ever visited a 
city in the United States," insinuated the flong- 
boo. 

223 



How the Animals Lost Their 

"I beg to be mistaken/" finished the police- 
man. "The union depot is under that clock." 
And he pointed to a clock near by. 

"I thank you for myself, I thank you for the 
Committee of Sixty Six, I thank you for the 
sake of all the animals in the United States who 
have lost their tails/" finished the chairman. 

Over to the Philadelphia union depot they 
went, all sixty-six, half blue foxes, half flong- 
boos. As they pattered pitty-pat, pitty-pat, 
each with feet and toenails, ears and hair, 
everything but tails, into the Philadelphia union 
depot, they had nothing to say. And yet though 
they had nothing to say the passengers in the 
union depot waiting for trains thought they 
had something to say and were saying it. So 
the passengers in the union depot waiting for 
trains listened. But with all their listening the 
passengers never heard the blue foxes and yel- 
low flongboos say anything. 

"They are saying it to each other in some 

224 



Tails 'and Got Them Back 

strange language from' where they belong," 
said one passenger waiting for a train. 

"They have secrets to keep among each 
other, and never tell us/' said another passen- 
ger. 

"We will find out all about it reading the 
newspapers upside down to-morrow morning/ : 
said a third passenger. 

Then the blue foxes and the yellow flong- 
boos pattered pitty-pat, pitty-pat, each with 
feet and toenails, ears and hair, everything ex- 
cept tails, pattered scritch scratch over the 
stone floors out into the train shed. They 
climbed into a special smoking car hooked on 
ahead of the engine. 

"This car hooked on ahead of the engine was 
put on special for us so we will always be ahead 
and we will get there before the train does/ : 
said the chairman to the committee. 

The train ran out of the train shed. It kept 
on the tracks and never left the rails. It came 

225 



How the Animals Lost Their 

to the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona where 
the tracks bend like a big horseshoe. Instead 
of going around the long winding bend of the 
horseshoe tracks up and around the mountains, 
the train acted different. The train jumped 
off the tracks down into the valley and cut across 
in a straight line on a cut-off, jumped on the 
tracks again and went on toward Ohio. 

The conductor said, "If you are going to 
jump the train off the tracks, tell us about it 
beforehand." 

"When we lost our tails nobody told us about 
it beforehand," said the old flongboo umpire. 

Two baby blue foxes, the youngest on the 
committee, sat on the front platform. Mile 
after mile of chimneys went by. Four hundred 
smokestacks stood in a row and tubs on tubs of 
sooty black soot marched out. 

"This is the place where the black cats come 
to be washed," said the first baby blue fox. 

"I believe your affidavit," said the second 
blue fox. 

226 



Tails and Got Them Back 

Crossing Ohio and Indiana at night the flong- 
boos took off the roof of the car. The con- 
ductor told them, "I must have an explana- 
tion." "It was between us and the stars/' they 
told him. 

The train ran into Chicago. That afternoon 
there were pictures upside down in the news- 
papers showing the blue foxes and the yellow 
flongboos climbing telephone poles standing on 
their heads eating pink ice cream with iron 
axes. 

Each blue fox and yellow flongboo got a 
newspaper for himself and each one looked long 
and careful upside down to see how he looked 
in the picture in the newspaper climbing a tele- 
phone pole standing on his head eating pink ice 
cream with an iron ax. 

* 

Crossing Minnesota the sky began to fill with 
the snow ghosts of Minnesota snow weather. 
Again the foxes and flongboos lifted the roof 
off the car, telling the conductor they would 
rather wreck the train than miss the big show 

227 



How the Animals Lost Their 

of the snow ghosts of the first Minnesota snow 
weather of the winter, 

Some went to sleep but the two baby blue 
foxes stayed up all night watching the snow 
ghosts and telling snow ghost stories to each 
other. 

Early in the night the first baby blue fox said 
to the second, "Who are the snow ghosts the 
ghosts of? 3 The second baby blue fox an- 
swered, "Everybody who makes a snowball, a 
snow man, a snow fox or a snow fish or a snow 
pattycake, everybody has a snow ghost. y 

And that was only the beginning of theii} 
talk. It would take a big book to tell all that 
the two baby foxes told each other that night 
about the Minnesota snow ghosts, because they 
sat up all night telling old stories their fathers 
and mothers and grandfathers and grandmoth- 
ers told them, and making up new stories never 
heard before about where the snow ghosts go 
on Christmas morning and how the snow ghosts 

watch the New Year in. 

228 



Tails and Got Them Back 

Somewhere between Winnipeg and Moose 
Jaw, somewhere it was they stopped the train 
and all ran out in the snow where the white 
moon was shining down a valley of birch trees. 
It was the Snowbird Valley where all the snow- 
birds of Canada come early in the winter and 
make their snow shoes. 

At last they came to Medicine Hat, near the 
Saskatchewan River, where the blizzards and 
the chinooks begin, where nobody works un- 
less they have to and they nearly all have to. 
There they ran in the snow till they came to 
the place where the Head Spotter of the 
Weather Makers sits on a high stool in a high 
tower on a high hill watching the weather. 

"Let loose another big wind to blow back our 
tails to us, let loose a big freeze to freeze our 
tails onto us again, and so let us get back our 
lost tails," they said to the Head Spotter of the 
Weather Makers. 

Which was just what he did, giving them 
exactly what they wanted, so they all went back 

229 



How the Animals Lost Their Tails 

home satisfied, the blue foxes each with a big 
wavy brush of a tail to help him when he runs, 
when he eats, when he walks or talks, when 
he makes pictures or writes letters in the snow 
or when he puts a snack of bacon meat with 
stripes of fat and lean to hide till he wants it 
under a big rock by the river and the yellow 
flongboos each with a long yellow torch of a 
tail to light up his home in a hollow tree or to 
light up his way when he sneaks at night on 
the prairie, sneaking up on the flangwayer, the 
hipper or the hangjast. 




230 

L CK AT! 

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